Perth, Western Australia, 21 July 2022 |

Wimbledon doubles champion Matt Ebden made a special visit to Holy Rosary Catholic Primary School in Doubleview, Western Australia yesterday to share his experience and inspire the next generation of players ahead of his return to the international tennis tour.

Passionate about ensuring kids across Australia are given the opportunity to give tennis a try, the two-time Grand Slam doubles champion, who partnered with compatriot Max Purcell to claim the Wimbledon title, is celebrating the win as tennis has been named as the number one delivered Sporting Schools program for a sixth consecutive year.

“Funded by the Australian Government, the Sporting Schools program is a fantastic initiative that provides kids right across Australia with the opportunity to pick up a racquet and give the sport a try,” Ebden said.

“Delivering tennis in schools is so important because it not only gets kids more active and trying something new, it also plays an important role in igniting a love of tennis among what stands to be Australia’s next generation of players and future champions of the sport.

“Winning Wimbledon with Max was an incredible experience and one I will treasure for life. I’m honoured by the opportunity to share my experiences and to help inspire the next generation of players. These kids are the future of our sport and I’m excited to show them what’s possible when you work hard and follow your dreams.”

Tennis has maintained the top spot since the federally-funded program first began in 2016, with 1184 tennis programs delivered across the country throughout 2021 and a massive 7889 tennis programs delivered in schools over the past six years.

“How wonderful for tennis in Australia – Matt and Max triumphing as Wimbledon champions, with Sam Stosur and Nick Kyrgios as Wimbledon finalists,” said Tennis Australia’s Chief Tennis Officer Tom Larner.

“We also congratulate Heath Davidson, Ajla Tomljanovic, Alex de Minaur and Jason Kubler for their gallant efforts and tremendous results at Wimbledon, and all the Aussies who took to the courts in the qualifying, main draw and junior events.

“The success of our Aussies on the world stage continues to shine a bright light on the strength of tennis in Australia. To have tennis recognised as the number one sport for a sixth consecutive year is an incredible achievement and highlights the sports commitment to the growth of grassroots participation and to the development of the future champions of the game.

“In addition, the delivery of tennis in schools plays an important role in helping kids to be active whilst introducing them to a social sport they can play for life.

“Many of the kids are picking up a racquet for the very first time and our modified Tennis Hot Shots program, with smaller racquets and low compression balls, makes it easy to play from the very beginning, ensuring a positive first tennis experience which we hope will ultimately lead to continued participation for many years to come.”

Connecting local coaches with schools and students within their area, Sporting Schools programs provide a practical and fun introduction to tennis and a direct and tangible pathway for ongoing participation beyond the school yard.

> LEARN MORE: Sporting Schools program

The sustainability of the program and impacts on participation are strengthened with the delivery of fundamental tennis skills which foster on court confidence, enjoyment of the game and helps to establish a life-long connection to the sport.

“Delivering tennis in schools is a fantastic opportunity for coaches around Australia to introduce the sport of tennis to students who might never have thought about picking up a racquet,” said Tennis Australia’s Head of Programs Rebecca McDonald.

“It’s also a tremendous opportunity for students to try a new sport in a safe environment, surrounded by peers who are at a similar development level.

“Given the chance to pick up a racquet, have some fun and learn fundamental skills sets the foundation for ongoing participation amongst a diverse base of students who without the Sporting Schools program may never have had the opportunity to try tennis.

“The flow on effect for continued participation is the connection with local coaches who offer accessible coaching programs and playing opportunities at clubs within their local communities.

“Sporting Schools is a key engagement piece for the sport of tennis and we’re proud to be industry leaders in this space.”

Tennis Australia is one of 37 national sporting organisations to partner with the Australian Sports Commission and the Sporting Schools initiative, funded by the Australian Government since 2015. Included in the 2022 Federal Budget, the Sporting Schools program will continue to be funded until the end of 2024.

Sporting Schools fast facts
  • Tennis reported as the number one delivered Sporting Schools program for 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021
  • 7889 Sporting School tennis programs delivered since 2016
  • 1184 Sporting School tennis programs delivered in 2021
  • 368 coaches involved in the delivery of Sporting Schools programs in 2021
  • Sporting Schools programs remove traditional barriers to participation by running in in school programs with no additional costs to parents/guardians
  • Sporting Schools programs create pathways for continued and ongoing participation beyond the school yard
  • The tennis program delivered through Sporting Schools is aligned to the Australian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education (ACHPE).

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