By Justin Flynn
The Australian Tennis Open ventured to Ocean Grove this week to kick off a range of holiday programs.
More than 30,000 kids will get a taste of the Australian Open as AO Holiday Programs launch across the country in the lead-up to all the grand slam action.
Former world No 53 Sam Groth was at Ocean Grove Tennis Club on Tuesday to help promote the programs.
AO Holiday Programs have been designed to inspire kids of all ages through the power, profile and excitement of the Australian Open, one of the world’s biggest sporting events.
In 2021 it will have the added bonus of supporting local tennis coaches and clubs, many that have suffered a year of disruption due to both bushfires and COVID-19.
A range of AO-themed activities and resources has been developed specifically for local coaches to use in their summer school holiday programs, which will take place until January 21.
As well as giving them the opportunity to improve their on-court tennis skills, kids will enjoy fun activities such as official AO Ballkid drills and experience some special behind the scenes glimpses of the AO, with messages from top players adding to the excitement. Participants will also be rewarded with exclusive player lanyards, lesson plans, certificates and giveaways.
Ocean Grove Tennis Club president Leon Eyck said the event was “very successful” with close to 40 juniors attending.
“The clinic is run by our club coaches, Tennis Fanatics, and is the first school holiday program run since we have been able to open up from Covid restrictions and it is one of the strongest turnouts we have had,” he said.
“The programs provide a great opportunity for seasoned juniors through to complete novices and we hope that some of those present, and their families, will develop a passion for tennis and look to become active junior members of our club.
“The club looks to run similar programs every school holiday throughout the year and encourage those interested to look out for them on the club’s Facebook page.”
Mr Eych said the event provides a great lead in to the social event the club intends to run for the AO finals at the new clubrooms over the weekend of February 20 and 21.
“The event will be open to members and non-members and will include Fast-4 tennis, food and the bar will be open,” he said.
“Those present will be able to view the finals on the two big screen TVs within the clubrooms.
“The club has encouraged Tennis Australia to come back to the club with live crosses like the Fan Zones used for AFL and cricket recently.
“The more attendees we have the greater the prospects so we hope to get the live cross happening.”
Anyone interested in attending should email the club at email@example.com and register their interest and the club will forward details of the event closer to the date.