17 January 2022 | Tennis Queensland

Today marks the first day of the 2022 Australian Open (AO) and despite the world’s best tennis players being 2,818 km away in Melbourne, you need not look further than the Cairns International Tennis Centre (CITC) to see the next crop of Queensland tennis stars in action!

As part of the Australian Open Holiday Program, CITC head coach Wayne Fielder from Baseline Tennis Coaching Academy is getting involved by running Kids Stay Active Holiday Camps over summer.

Designed to create all the hype and excitement of a Grand Slam event, local participants are presented with AO lanyards, player accreditation, autographed balls, AO-themed photo opportunities and Bondi Sands sunscreen. Collectively across Australia, the program is set to see more than 40,000 kids hitting the court in the lead-up to Australian Open, with over 800 of those local participants from the Cairns region.

“We’ve seen great numbers at our holiday camps over the summer, averaging 50-60 kids each day. It’s just great seeing so many kids getting outside, getting active and enjoying their tennis,” Cairns International Tennis Centre Head Coach Wayne Fielder said.

With recent AusPlay data reporting 1.5 million Aussies, including 1.2 million adults and 300,000 chil­­dren, picking up a racquet throughout the latest reporting period, tennis is the fastest-growing sport across all ages. Out-performing 15 other activities and sports, including AFL, basketball and soccer.

“The latest AusPlay data provides us with a really strong indication as to the health of Aussie tennis and provides us with the perfect platform to engage our grassroots audience further,” Tennis Australia Chief Tennis Officer Tom Larner said.

“It’s wonderful to think that alongside the professional players preparing for their summer of tennis down under, that we’ve got more than 40,000 kids across the country picking up a racquet, getting on court and getting excited about tennis and the upcoming Australian Open.”