Tennis Australia Press Release, December 9, 2021
The ANZ Tennis Hot Shots Racquet Roadshow celebrated a major milestone on Wednesday, with the 200,000th racquet presented at Syndal South Primary School by 22-time Grand Slam champion Todd Woodbridge.
Over the past five years ANZ and Tennis Australia have delivered 200,000 racquets into the hands of first-year primary school children, with 30,000 children from more than 700 schools receiving their first racquet in 2021.
At Syndal South Primary school today, Woodbridge presented racquets to 40 prep students who then hit the courts for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a training session with the tennis legend.
The magnificent Australian Open trophies – the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup and the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup, also known as Norm and Daphne, joined the celebrations, along with a giant golden tennis racquet.
As well as putting 200,000 racquets in the hands of kids over the past five years, some of Australia’s most loved tennis names, including Woodbridge, John Fitzgerald, and Casey Dellacqua have visited schools across the country – both in person, and over the past 18 months, virtually, to inspire and encourage the kids to pick up their new racquets and swing into action.
The fifth edition of the ANZ Tennis Hot Shots Racquet Roadshow comes as new survey data shows that 92% of Australian parents surveyed believe children should learn tennis from a young age. The desire for children to participate in sport and physical activity is particularly relevant, as nearly half of parents surveyed say they are concerned their families are not as fit when compared to the start of the pandemic.
From 2020 to 2021, tennis has seen a surge in popularity due to the sport’s COVIDSafe nature, with court bookings up by 209% year-on-year. As a naturally physically distanced sport enjoyed outdoors, tennis has been tipped as one of the best ways to exercise safely.
Two thirds of those surveyed said they would be more likely to try a new sport if they knew it was considered COVIDSafe.
The survey responses suggest that:
- Almost half of Australian families surveyed noticed a decrease in their family’s level of outdoor physical activity during the pandemic.
- Nearly 40% of Victorians are somewhat concerned with a change of physical fitness in their children since the start of the pandemic.
- Almost half of Victorians (49%) and NSW (46%) residents believe their family is not as fit when compared to the start of 2020.
- Three quarters of Australians surveyed believe they would give tennis a shot if their families owned the necessary sporting equipment (specifically racquets and balls).
- 82% of Australians surveyed are aware of the benefits associated with playing tennis as a child including physical fitness, coordination, confidence and social skills.
It is hoped the program will also encourage Aussies to pick up tennis again, with three-quarters of those surveyed expressing an interest in either returning to the sport, or giving it a shot.
“The ANZ Tennis Hot Shots Racquet Roadshow has been an outstanding success and is a credit to all our team involved in the Tennis in Schools’ program and our longstanding partnership with ANZ,” Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley said.
“Getting more kids involved in tennis is part of what we do every single day, and to have been able to put racquets in the hands of 200,000 kids across the country is a tremendous milestone to celebrate. I look forward to seeing more courts across the country full of kids playing tennis with their friends and families.”
“We hope that by supporting grassroots programs like the ANZ Tennis Hot Shots Racquet Roadshow we can help inspire the next generation grow a lifelong love of tennis,” ANZ Managing Director of Retail Banking, Katherine Bray said.
“ANZ and Tennis Australia’s five-year partnership that has delivered 200,000 racquets to communities right across Australia is an outstanding achievement.”
Twenty-two-time Grand Slam champion, Todd Woodbridge, has handed out thousands of racquets to school kids across the country over the past five years, and has continued his classroom visits virtually over the past year.
“The ANZ Tennis Hot Shots Racquet Roadshow is a project I’m excited to be involved with every single year,” Woodbridge said.
“To be able to introduce so many kids, and their families, to the sport I’ve loved for my whole life is so rewarding, as is seeing the positive impact tennis can have on their lives is so pleasing to see.”
ANZ Tennis Hot Shots Racquet Roadshow fast facts:
- The ANZ Tennis Hot Shots Racquet Roadshow will deliver 30,000 tennis racquets to first year primary school age children across all Australian states and territories in 2021.
- 2021 is the fifth consecutive year of the ANZ Tennis Hot Shots Racquet Roadshow
- By the end of 2021 200,000 racquets will have been put in the hands of first year school children across Australia, thanks to ANZ.
- Tennis Australia’s School Partnership Program encourages kids to pick up a racquet and play tennis as part of their health and physical education curriculum.
For further information about ANZ Tennis Hot Shots, please click here.