People of all abilities have been given the chance to have a swing in a new tournament.
Tennis Australia and all Member Associations and Movement Disorder Foundation (MDF) are doing their part to make sure more children with disabilities have the opportunity to become more active through participating in tennis.
Friday 8 September saw the commencement of the inaugural MDF tennis tournament, between Ferntree Gully Tennis Club (Metro South East) and Slammin Tennis in Doncaster (Metro East), held in Ferntree Gully.
The event received a fantastic turnout, with players enjoying almost two hours on the courts.
All participants had a whack of a tennis ball on full-sized tennis courts, partaking in round robin singles and doubles events, with up to eight games.
At the conclusion of the day, all of the players were treated to food and drinks by the club, and were all awarded with participation certificates for their efforts on the courts.
Slammin’ Tennis Doncaster president Vicki Lee said the idea came about because there’s no real social connections for adults with disabilities.
“We had different streams of games available so everyone could get involved and socialise with each other.
“We had a multi-skills platform for those not able to rally or play a full match, and another stream where they could rally and play a full game with modified rules, and regular full court rules.
“This meant that everyone could be included, at the end they all sat down and shared a feast of pizzas and wraps and conversations,” she said.
Ms Lee said while there was a bit of apprehension from some of the Doncaster players having to travel to Ferntree Gully, overall everyone thoroughly enjoyed the event and are looking forward to the next event.
Ferntree Gully Tennis Club president Paul Proctor said there is a real need in the community for all-abilities sports to bring more locals together.
“The players loved having the opportunity to meet some new people and play a competition with some new formats and to be given the opportunity to try something new.
“In our area I think 15 per cent of locals have some kind of disability, or at least know someone who does, so there’s a real need to give everyone the opportunity to connect and come together over sport, especially tennis,” he said.
Mr Proctors’ hope is that more sports clubs in the area will get on board with all-abilities opportunities, and more tennis clubs to get involved and support the community.
The second tournament has been scheduled for January 2024 and will be hosted at the Doncaster Tennis Club.
The Ferntree Gully Tennis Club have regular all abilities tennis on Thursdays from 5.30pm to 6.30pm during school terms, with events like the MDF tournament being used as one of the pathways for those who have been playing for a while to take the next step.