Newcastle, NSW, 6 April 2023 |

Tennis Australia’s First Nations Tennis Ambassador and former world No.1 Ash Barty today launched the National Indigenous Tennis Carnival at the District Park Tennis Centre in Newcastle (Mulubinba), New South Wales, where a regional lead-in event was held.

The National Indigenous Tennis Carnival will take place in Darwin from 10-13 August 2023 and is the pinnacle event for young First Nations people.

Regional and metro events will take place in every state and territory leading up to the 2023 national event, to provide more opportunities for First Nations youth to play and engage with tennis.

Ngarigo woman Barty joined forces with Tennis Australia’s First Nations Lead and Yuin woman Kyah Jones at the event, to inspire and encourage more than 140 Indigenous youth aged between 9-15 from Newcastle and surrounding regions to get involved in tennis.

The Regional Indigenous Carnival, run by Tennis NSW in collaboration with Tennis Australia and The Wollotuka Institute of the University of Newcastle provided engaging opportunities for students to participate in a wide range of tennis and cultural activities.

“It’s great to be here (in Newcastle), I’ve been able to travel the world but haven’t had the opportunity to travel much of Australia so it’s been very nice to be able to do that in my role (as First Nations Ambassador with Tennis Australia),” three-time Grand Slam champion Ash Barty said on her visit to Newcastle.

“This is one of many regional events leading up to the National Indigenous Tennis Carnival being held in Darwin in August this year, it’s an opportunity for our kids to come together, try new things and be culturally involved … it’s certainly nice in the lead-up to having the national event to have so many opportunities before the main event, around the country.

“It’s incredible (to see so many First Nations youth trying tennis for the first time), this is what it’s all about, it’s about trying things for the first time, it’s all about participating, coming and trying tennis, learning new and different things, and bringing people together is a bonus.

“Over the past year, it’s been incredible to try new things, I’ve just been so grateful and appreciative of my journey across tennis and beyond now, but to still be connected and be able to contribute in ways like this, particularly with First Nations youth is my passion, I love it, and it’s certainly nice to be here.

“I’ve had different role models throughout my whole life, starting with my mum and my sisters, and then professionally evolved into Evonne (Goolagong Cawley) and Cathy Freeman, they are both exceptional people and great role models in a sense of what they did in their field, on the court, on the track, but also their contribution after they retired, is something that I would really love to emulate. I’d love to continue to contribute in different ways, continue to evolve my role, and continue to give back to kids and give them the opportunity in both the education and participation pathway.

“Through participation in sport, there is just so many ways we can help kids get better and dream bigger,” Barty added on helping inspire the next generation.

The day started with a performance by Winganay Dreaming, followed by tennis and cultural workshops including dancing, didgeridoo, weaving and advice on education pathways. Local tennis organisation’s including Discover Sports Group, Newcastle & District Tennis Association and tennis coaches including First Nations coaches from around New South Wales were on hand to deliver tennis activities and support students to continue their tennis journeys.

“With the support of Tennis Australia and The Wollotuka Institute we are thrilled to bring back our celebration of First Nations culture and tennis to District Park in Newcastle, one of the state’s key regional tennis facilities,” Nikita Sayle, Tennis NSW Head of Inclusion, Diversity and Programming said.

“Bringing events like this to local communities and providing pathways in tennis for First Nations people are key elements of our organisation’s Reconcilliation Action Plan and Inclusion and Diversity Plan. It has been wonderful to see the numbers grow this year and having an amazing champion and role model like Ash Barty here, interacting with the kids is so special and something that they will remember forever,” Sayle continued.

Leading into the National Indigenous Tennis Carnival in August, all states and territories will hold regional and state-based First Nations tennis activations designed to provide more competitive and tennis participation opportunities for young First Nations people. The full calendar and details are available below.

“The National Indigenous Tennis Carnival in August is an incredible celebration, bringing together hundreds of young First Nations people from across the country to participate in a festival of tennis and First Nations culture,” Tennis Australia’s First Nations Lead Kyah Jones said.

“I’m so proud of how we’ve been able to bring tennis to each state and territory and combine the on-court competition with a range of culturally immersive experiences to so many young First Nations people across Australia.

“It’s so rewarding to see Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth trying tennis for the first time … I love seeing those big smiles – the enthusiasm is infectious, and we hope that through these events we can help discover the next Evonne Goolagong or Ash Barty.”

National Indigenous Tennis Carnival 2023 events

Date Location State Contact
4 April Melbourne Park Vic Shivam Nawani ([email protected])
6 April Newcastle NSW Nikita Sayle ([email protected])
13 April Toowoomba Qld Rebecca Herbert ([email protected])
30 April Perth – State Tennis Centre WA Zara Cavalot ([email protected])
11 May TBC WA Zara Cavalot ([email protected])
13 May Cairns International Tennis Centre Qld Cody Meagher ([email protected])
13-14 May Sydney Olympic Park NSW Nikita Sayle ([email protected])
25 May Playford SA Luke Doughty ([email protected])
27 May Cygnet Tennis Club Tas Simon Aufder-Heide ([email protected])
28 May East Devonport Tennis Club Tas Simon Aufder-Heide ([email protected])
28 May The Drive, North Adelaide SA Luke Doughty ([email protected])
29-30 May Halls Creek WA Zara Cavalot ([email protected])
2 June Canberra Tennis Centre ACT Tom George ([email protected])
10-13 August Darwin International Tennis Centre NT

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