Darwin, Australia, 10 August 2023 | Tennis Australia

Fourteen-time Grand Slam champion and Wiradjuri woman Evonne Goolagong Cawley opened the fourth edition of the National Indigenous Tennis Carnival (NITC) in Darwin, on Larrakia Country on Thursday.

Goolagong Cawley was joined by Tennis NT CEO Tania Tandora, Tennis Australia First Nations Lead and Yuin woman Kyah Jones along with participants of the NITC as 160 First Nations aspiring tennis players made their way to the Northern Territory ahead of the official opening ceremony.

Celebrating the cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through tennis, the NITC was first launched in 2018 and is an annual four-day event centred around culture, community, tennis, education, and wellbeing. This year’s event will run from 10-13 August.

“Prior to this week, we had 11 events leading into the National Indigenous Tennis Carnival, from all over Australia, including remote communities,” Jones said.

“With our sustainability strategy at TA, we are really trying to excel in this First Nations space. We’ve recently launched our Innovate, Reconciliation Action Plan, so really looking to be more inclusive and create more opportunities for Indigenous tennis.”

Added Goolagong Cawley: “This event is not just about tennis; it’s about learning from each other’s country and where they come from. I had to come all the way up here (NT) to learn about culture also, and have become very attached to my culture, I’ve become a stronger person because of it.”

Said Tadora: “The tournament covers off all levels of ability, so we have kids who are pretty new to tennis, and kids who are seasoned players. This event is more about the way that participants interact with each other, the values that they show, and how they make use of this event.”

2023 National Indigenous Tennis Carnival schedule

Thursday 10 August
1.00pm Participants begin arriving from around country for the NITC 2023
2.00pm Media preview with Evonne Goolagong Cawley and NITC representatives
2.30pm – 4.00pm Australian Open First Nations Ballkid Trials
5.00pm National Indigenous Tennis Carnival Opening Ceremony and Welcome to Country
7.00pm Cultural exchange ceremony for participants and communities at NITC
Friday 11 August
9.30am – 5.30pm National Indigenous Tennis Carnival commences (cultural activities and match play underway)
7.00pm BARKAA concert for participants
Saturday 12 August
9.00 am Finals day for 2023 National Indigenous Tennis Carnival
11.00am Hot Shots Finals (red ball teams competition)
3.00pm Future Stars Finals (orange ball teams competition)
4.30 pm 14/u and 18/u Showdown Finals Commence (individual tournament)
Sunday 13 August
9.00am Closing ceremony, trophy presentation, Ash Barty Cup (top performing state/territory), Evonne Goolagong Medal of Excellence and Deadly Award winners announced

About the 2023 National Indigenous Tennis Carnival

Launched in 2018, the National Indigenous Tennis Carnival was founded by Tennis Australia with support from Tennis NT, Evonne Goolagong Cawley, the Evonne Goolagong Cawley Foundation and its CEO Roger Cawley.

The carnival features two streams – one for participation (teams competition), and another for performance (tournament), in both the 14/u and 18/u age groups. Players travel from every state and territory and join fellow participants from Northern Territory communities including Utopia, Ngukurr, Warrumiyanga (Tiwi Islands), Jabiru, Palmerston, and Woolianna.

Special trophies will be presented to winning teams and competitors, with the Evonne Goolagong Medal of Excellence and the Ash Barty Cup awarded at the conclusion of the carnival.