20 January 2020 | Tennis Australia

Anyone who’s ever thought about returning or taking up tennis has been there: in one instant you can’t wait to get on court. In the next, it seems all too hard.

You’ll never be able to hit like Roger Federer. And forget about replicating Ash Barty’s slice. There’s also the fact you don’t own a racquet or proper tennis wear. How do you even book a court? Or find someone else to play?

The good news is that all those obstacles – and anything else that’s ever stopped you participating – no longer exist. Open Court Sessions is the new, fun (and most of all easy!) way to play tennis. And not only is it available at more than 1000 Australian clubs, but anybody – whether they’ve experienced tennis before or not – is welcome to play.

Open Court Sessions throws tradition out the door to include music that will keep you moving, fun tennis activities as well as off-court socialising with food and drinks. Equipment is available to all participants, so you no longer need to worry about finding a racquet, or even someone else to hit.

Janine Ahern, who is leading Open Court Sessions at the East Fremantle Tennis Club in Western Australia, understands how daunting it can be to return or take up the sport.

“I stopped playing from the age of 14 up until I was 33,” explains the club manager, who now plays three times a week. “It wasn’t until a friend of mine invited me down to the club for a hit that I got back into it. I hadn’t even thought about playing tennis for years until she invited me, so it was great to have someone to encourage me.

“It can be a bit scary going to a new club on your own and I didn’t even know if I would still be able to hit the ball.”

That social hit reignited her passion to participate – and now, Ahern can’t imagine her life without the sport.

“The great thing about tennis is it helps you meet so many great people,” she said. “I look forward to playing every week and then having a drink and laugh afterwards with my friends.”

The East Fremantle Tennis Club, which has 170 members and boasts 14 grass and nine hard courts, will host its first Open Court Session on Tuesday 28 January.

“It will be a great way to get more people back on court,” Ahern says. “It’s a great time of the year to get fit and it’s not going to be scary because it’s all about having fun. It does not matter if you don’t hit the ball over the net ­ everyone is there to have fun.”

But best of all it’s never been easier. Simply log on to play.tennis.com.au to find where Open Court Sessions is closest to you. You’ll be playing and making new friends in on time – and you can leave the serious stuff to the pros.

To find out more about Open Court Sessions or find one near you, visit play.tennis.com.au.