Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia, 1 September 2019 | Tennis Australia

The second-ever National Indigenous Tennis Carnival has come to an end in Darwin today, with Indigenous tennis legend Evonne Goolagong Cawley on hand to present the champions with their trophies.

The championship finals saw Toby Radford (Vic) def. Charlie Pade (NSW) in the 18-and-under boys’ championship, Mikayla Zahirovic (Qld) def. Krystal Clarke (NSW) in the 18-and-under girls’, Liam Williams (Vic) def Jayden Kemp (SA) in the 14-and-under boys’ and Ausha Paulson (NSW) def Asia Kahn (NSW) in the 14-and-girls’.

Tennis NT CEO and National Indigenous Tennis Carnival event manager Sam Gibson was delighted with the event’s success in its second year.

“This year’s event was a step up on last years. We saw a lot of engagement from the states with Indigenous pathways and programs starting to be built around the country, providing ongoing access to the great opportunities that tennis can bring to the whole of Australia,” Gibson said.

“It is really important for us to bring those programs together annually and continue to provide a pathway for Indigenous tennis players. The National Indigenous Tennis Carnival is a great celebration of culture and tennis and we really look forward to growing the event for many years to come.”

In a special award presentation, Evonne Goolagong Cawley presented 18-and-under girls’ champion Mikayla Zahirovic from Townsville, Queensland with the Evonne Goolagong Cawley Medals of Excellence for her outstanding leadership on-and-off court.

Sixteen-year-old Zahirovic was honoured to have received the Evonne Goolagong Cawley Medal of Excellence for the second time.

“I am speechless to be honest. I didn’t think I was going to get it this year, but to be awarded it again is an amazing feeling and I am feeling truly honoured,” Zahirovic said.

“It was good to see everyone from last year improve. They’ve all improved so much and it was good to play some new people and see new faces.

“It has been a fantastic week at the second National Indigenous Tennis Carnival, the carnival is a great event for Indigenous youth from around the country to come and meet new people, share our culture, have fun and learn more about everything. I think this carnival will go on for a very long time.”

“Ash Barty and Evonne Goolagong Cawley are my two favourite players. They are definitely some of the biggest role models we have in this country, not only for all Australians but Indigenous people.”

After finishing as the runner up in 2018, Victoria’s Toby Radford, won the 18-and-under boys’ championship against Charlie Pade.

“I feel honoured. This is my second year back, last year I was the runner up and pretty disappointed. I wanted to come back firing this year and get the job done, so I am pretty happy with this result,” Radford said.

“Our team wasn’t expecting to win the Ash Barty Cup. It wasn’t a very big team, but obviously we tried hard every match and got our results, which helped us to claim the cup.

“It has been good to catch up with everyone. Just getting to know everyone and learn more about the culture here, it’s been really good.”

National Indigenous Tennis Carnival 2019 final results

18-and-under championships 

Girls: Mikayla Zahirovic (Qld) def. Krystal Clarke (NSW) 6-0 6-3

Boys: Toby Radford (Vic) def. Charlie Pade (NSW) 6-2 6-1

14-and-under championships 

Girls: Ausha Paulson (NSW) def. Asia Khan (NSW) 6-0 6-0

Boys: Liam Williams (Vic) def. Jayden Kemp (SA) 6-4 6-4

Evonne Goolagong Cawley Medal of Excellence

Mikayla Zahirovic (Qld)

Ash Barty Cup (participation and effort award)

Team Victoria 

Additional information on the 2019 NITC

  • More than 180 participants travelled to Darwin for the 2019 National Indigenous Tennis Carnival including 84 from NT, 42 from Queensland, 20 from NSW, 10 from WA, 10 from Victoria, 9 from ACT, 6 from Tasmania, and 3 from SA
  • NT participants came from 6 communities including the Clontarf Boys Program from Nightcliff Middle School and as far as Numbulwar which is an 11-hour drive
  • The event was not only focused on tennis, but provided a culturally immersive experience which saw participants getting the opportunity to take part in the Djuki Mala workshop and concert, learn basket weaving, jewellery making, painting, sculpting and didgeridoo making
  • The event is a pivotal part of the Indigenous tennis pathway and provides an opportunity for not only elite Indigenous tennis players but those trying the sport for the first time
  • A mural was also created at the event to recognise and celebrate the achievements of Indigenous tennis players Evonne Goolagong Cawley and Ash Barty and inspire participants attending the Darwin event