Regional communities unite as Rally As One tour returns
The Australian Tennis Foundation's Rally As One tour continues across regional Victoria in coming weeks.
Victorian communities across the East Gippsland and Towong Shires are set to get a boost to their spirits as the Australian Tennis Foundation’s Rally As One initiative returns to bring tennis to the regions.
Launched in November 2020, Rally As One was established to support communities impacted by the devastating bushfires of the same year and saw the global tennis community come together to raise funds as part of the Australian Open Aces for Bushfire Relief campaign.
The campaign was spearheaded by Rally for Relief, a spectacular night of tennis and entertainment led by Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Rafael Nadal, Caroline Wozniacki, Novak Djokovic, Nick Kyrgios and Petra Kvitova just prior to Australian Open 2020.
The funds raised continue to help rebuild vital community infrastructure in the worst affected areas, as well as deliver programs that reduce barriers to participation and build social and community connections through tennis.
“The towns on our Rally As One tour are incredibly resilient, but have faced some significant challenges in the last few years through natural disasters and then COVID-19,” said Executive Director of the Australian Tennis Foundation Vicki Reid.
“We know that tennis is an amazing vehicle to promote mental wellbeing and social connection, and with these free community events and activations, we hope to bring some of those benefits to these regions that need it most.”
The Rally As One tour will kick off with a free community event in Genoa on Saturday 22 October and continue on to other affected areas including Mallacoota, Orbost and Omeo, before wrapping up in Corryong on Friday October 28.
The Rally As One community events in Orbost and Corryong will coincide with AO on the Road – a trophy tour that will see the magnificent Norman Brookes Challenge Cup and Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup visit more than 20 regional towns across Victoria in the lead up to the Australian Open 2023.
“AO on the Road is a wonderful initiative because it creates a tangible connection for people across Victoria to the amazing event that is the Australian Open,” said Australian tennis champion and former Davis Cup captain John Fitzgerald.
“Having travelled to many towns as part of AO on the Road myself, I’ve experienced how special it is to be able to bring these magnificent and historic trophies to country Victoria. It’s also a great opportunity to showcase our fantastic regional tennis communities and the tremendous work so many are doing to get more people of all ages involved in tennis.”
At the events in Orbost and Corryong, members of the community will have the chance to pose with the silverware, affectionately known as Norm and Daphne, like so many AO champions have before them. Live music by prominent local artists, appearances by tennis legends, craft for kids, come-and-try Tennis Hot Shots afternoons, food trucks, games and prizes will add to the festivities.
“We are proud to be partnering with Tennis Victoria on this tour to introduce more than 300 kids to tennis and provide schools and clubs in these regional communities with the equipment and programs they need to continue playing,” said Reid.
Book online, play today: Visit play.tennis.com.au to get out on court and have some fun!