19 August 2019 | Tennis West

Ten of WA’s most promising junior tennis players have been selected to attend the 2019 National Indigenous Tennis Carnival (NITC) which kicks off in Darwin at the end of the month.

Andrew Dickie, Angel Dickie, Malakai Dickie, Xavier Dickie, Jackson Phillips, Kale Stanton, Lesley Snowball, Sebastian Savarese, Tia Bellotti and Shania Kent will come together to compete as two representative teams in the NITC Fast4 Green Ball Teams Competition. The 18/u team’s event provides a platform for up and coming Indigenous tennis players to transition from participation to the tournament stream.

Running for a second consecutive year, the highly successful carnival boasts a four-day celebration of tennis and culture, and will take place at the Darwin International Tennis Centre from 29 August 2019.

As the pinnacle event of the Indigenous tennis pathway, in addition to developing players who will compete in a NITC Fast 4 Green Ball team’s competition, the carnival will also showcase some of the best Indigenous tennis talent from across the country. 14/u and 18/u boys and girls will compete to be crowned the National Indigenous Tennis Champion of each respective event.

The NITC will be a celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, bringing together hundreds of individuals and groups to celebrate youth, music, art, food and health through the delivery of tennis, cultural activities and workshops.

Tennis Australia Chair Jayne Hrdlicka was delighted with the success of the 2018 Carnival, and is passionate about promoting events like this, with the aim to make tennis more accessible to everyone.

“I’m so proud we’ve been able to bring Indigenous players from across the country together for the National Indigenous Tennis Carnival,”

“The Carnival is pivotal to the growth of our Indigenous tennis pathway and a vital part of building and promoting tennis to all Australian communities,” Hrdlicka said.

Championed by Tennis legend and 14-time Grand Slam champion Evonne Goolagong Cawley, and in partnership with the Australian Government, the Dream, Believe, Learn, Achieve programme facilitates Come and Try days across each State and Territory. Successful participants of the Come and Try days are then chosen to receive assisted coaching, in addition to an invitation to the National Indigenous Tennis Carnival.

Selected WA players were chosen from a pool of 19 players who attended the Tennis West Come and Try Day held at the State Tennis Centre in May. In preparation for the Carnival, the final team have strengthened their development with ongoing coaching and training sessions facilitated by Cameron Fenner of Frontier Tennis.

Goolagong Cawley believes that the 2018 event was the most significant gathering of indigenous tennis players ever in our country

“It was wonderful to see kids of all ages enjoying the sport I love so much – whether discovering it for the first time, or having the opportunity to develop and improve their skills.

“It’s a dream come true to be part of this National Indigenous Tennis Carnival, and to see how tennis can have such a positive impact on communities, and do so much good,”

“The celebration of culture, improving the health and wellbeing of everyone involved and promoting education are all so important to me. I can’t wait to come to the event again this year,” Goolagong Cawley said.

Treasurer, and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Finance and Lands Mr Ben Wyatt congratulates the WA representatives and says that he wishes them all the very best for the upcoming carnival in Darwin.

“It is a fantastic achievement for the young players to attend such an event and while I hope they get the results they hope for on the court, I also trust they will get just as much out of the various cultural activities and important lessons around education,”

“Our young tennis players are privileged to have such wonderful role models in Evonne Goolagong Cawley and Ash Barty to learn from and I trust that all participants will benefit from such great Aboriginal leadership,”

“I would also like to congratulate Tennis West on encouraging broader participation through their Come and Try days and providing further pathways for these talented athletes,” Minister Wyatt said.

Celebrations will include the creation of a new mural designed to celebrate Indigenous tennis and culture. The artwork, painted by a group of local artists, including David Collins alongside Indigenous artists Shaun Lee ‘Hafleg’ and Jesse Bell, will feature Goolagong Cawley alongside current world No.1, French Open champion and Indigenous Tennis Ambassador, Ash Barty.

World-acclaimed Aboriginal performers Djuki Mala will also take to the stage for a community concert on the evening of Friday 30 August.

Goolagong Cawley, of Wiradjuri descent, and Barty, who has Ngarigo heritage, are the only two Australian women to achieve the world No.1 singles ranking in the modern era.