More than 100 Holy Spirit Catholic Primary School students had a day to remember on Wednesday, receiving their first ever tennis racquet, plus a virtual visit from Nick Kyrgios and Alison Bai.
The kindergarten students each received a signed tennis racquet from the Canberra-born tennis athletes, with an encouraging message from the pair.
“Tennis is an awesome sport. It is for all ages, you can start at five, six, seven years old or you can play until you’re 90,” said Bai.
“You only need a racquet, couple of tennis balls and a friend and you could go and play for hours,” added Kyrgios.
The event was the fourth edition of ANZ Tennis Hot Shots Racquet Roadshow, virtually conducted by Australian tennis great, Todd Woodbridge.
Holy Spirit Catholic Primary School primary coordinator, James Farrell, said the students felt special to receive the racquets.
“You could see they were over the moon about it, and I think there will be kids in kindergarten who’ve taken up lessons who will love to take home their own racquet that’s got somebody famous on it,” he said.
The kindergarten students are set to give the sport a go in term four, on the school’s dedicated ANZ Tennis Hot Shots courts.
Another 660 Canberra students will also receive a signed racquet, across 14 schools.
The initiative aims to address a reported decline of activity in young children, with Tennis ACT CEO Kim Kachel saying it would help more children become involved in the sport both through their schools and in the community.
“Our partnership with ANZ will give another 760 kids across the ACT the opportunity to get active and lead a healthy lifestyle,” he said.
“Tennis Australia’s partnership with ANZ has helped us to put more racquets in children’s hand than ever before.”
Bai and Kyrgios reflected on their own first ever tennis racquets during the virtual visit.
“I think my Dad bought my first racquet; I still have it. It is a pink prince one and I loved it so much it has got so many scratches on it,” said Bai.
“My mum gave me my first ever racquet. I can’t really remember it, but I had a fun time coming down to these local courts with a big group of kids,” said Kyrgios.
By December, the ANZ initiative will have delivered 170,000 racquets to Australian kids since 2015.