14 April 2023 | Tennis NSW

Tennis Australia’s First Nations Ambassador Ash Barty visited Mulubinba (Newcastle) to launch the 2023 National Indigenous Tennis Carnival.

On Thursday 6 April, Tennis Australia’s First Nations Tennis Ambassador and former world No.1 Ash Barty recently 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.

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. 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. Sydney Olympic Park will be hosting the next NSW regional lead-in event on 13/14 May.

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.

“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 Reconciliation 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.

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