Tennis fans fostered among new migrants

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16 Jan 2019

As the stars of the Australian Open take centre court in Melbourne, a group of newly arrived migrants is being treated to a backstage tour and a chance to see their idols on court.

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It’s part of a multicultural tennis program – called Access Community Equality or ACE – run by Tennis Victoria in collaboration with Spirit West, Adult Multicultural Education Services, Sport Without Borders and various sports clubs.

Listen: Tennis fans fostered among new migrants, Abby Dinham reports

 

The program was launched in 2012 with fewer than 100 participants. But a massive spike in interest from newly arrived migrants over the last two years has bumped the number of players to over 1,000.

 

Tennis Victoria’s Executive Manager of Community Tennis, Belinda Kleverlaan says the groups are thrilled to visit Melbourne’s tennis mecca.

 

“I think they’re blown away, because they’ve seen the tennis on the television and then to be her at this venues and watch live on site, it’s an opportunity they really appreciate and it’s just exciting to see the enjoyment they get from it,” she said.

 

Many of the participants have been in Australia less than a year, but already they have aspirations to represent the country in tennis one day.

 

Mark DeCampo, from Spirit West, says the enthusiasm for tennis from children of non-English speaking backgrounds has been amazing.

 

“There’s some talent there, yes definitely. They’re a little bit raw, a little bit overenthusiastic at some stages! We might need to build the fences a bit higher but yes, they’re definitely very keen.”

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