Saturday, November 4 saw the opening of the tennis season here on Kangaroo Island, but there was little fanfare and almost none of the ‘buzz’ associated with Opening Day.
Sadly, due to lack of participation, a number of matches were forfeited.
Clubs simply did not have the numbers to front a team.
Australian tennis is a summer tradition.
Football and netball in the winter, cricket and tennis in the summer - yet over the past 15 years, regular participation at tennis clubs across our nation has declined by some 35 percent.
Many metropolitan clubs are thriving, but regional and rural clubs have seen disproportional drops in membership.
While some of this negative trend can be attributed to a gradual busying-up of people’s lives and general change in the overall lifestyle choices that we make, sport is still at the core of our identity as Australians.
Tennis is a game that can be played by people ranging in age from 4 to 94.
It can be played socially or competitively and is a great way to keep engaged with the local community and keep fit at the same time.
With the trend toward an internet-driven, device-dependent way of life gathering pace daily, it is up to each of us to decide what is really important.
Do we want to be active and healthy and socially involved or are X-Box, facebook, and surfing the net how we want to spend our free time?
Australia has a great tennis history.
Names like Newcombe, Goolagong, Court, Laver and Cash ring in the Tennis Hall of Fame.
We host one of the four Grand Slam events each January in the Australian Open.
This is an iconic event, but head a few hours out of town or a few weeks either side of this great tournament and many clubs are withering away.
It may very well be that the member-managed, volunteer-run club model is fading into history, but does that mean that we should let sport fade with it?
What are our aspiring tennis stars – the ones that start out in the Hot Shots program or have a hit with mum and dad on the weekend going to do if tennis falls over here on Kangaroo Island?
Commissioner for KI Wendy Campana said, “It’s disappointing to hear our clubs are struggling to find players. This article is a great call to action – I am ready to assist.”
Tennis SA will be coming back to Kangaroo Island around the holiday period and Kevin Riggs from the Kingscote Tennis Club is formalising his coaching credentials.
If you have any ideas on how to revive and reinvigorate the KI tennis scene, please contact your local club or The Islander.
Send in your suggestions to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let’s get the game going again.