Local Sport

Evonne Goolagong Cawley launches National Indigenous Tennis Carnival in Darwin

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Australian tennis legend and 14-time Grand Slam champion Evonne Goolagong Cawley visited Darwin yesterday to launch the 2019 National Indigenous Tennis Carnival.

Goolagong Cawley was joined by Tennis Australia Chair Jayne Hrdlicka, Tennis NT CEO Sam Gibson, and Indigenous Programs Manager Joe Kelly to announce the second edition of the highly successful carnival, a four-day celebration of tennis and culture, which will take place from 29 August to 1 September 2019.

“I’m delighted to be here in Darwin to launch the second Indigenous Tennis Carnival,” Goolagong Cawley said.

“Last year it was incredible to see this amazing event, which I believe was the most significant gathering of indigenous tennis players ever in our country. It was wonderful to see kids of all ages enjoying the sport I love so much – whether discovering it for the first time, or having the opportunity to develop and improve their skills.

“It’s a dream come true to be part of this National Indigenous Tennis Carnival, and to see how tennis can have such a positive impact on communities, and do so much good. The celebration of culture, improving the health and wellbeing of everyone involved and promoting education are all so important to me. I can’t wait to come to the event again this year,” Goolagong Cawley continued.

A new initiative announced today is the creation of a new mural designed to celebrate Indigenous tennis and culture. The artwork, painted by a group of local artists, including David Collins alongside Indigenous artists Shaun Lee ‘Hafleg’ and Jesse Bell, will feature Goolagong Cawley alongside current world No.1, French Open champion and Indigenous Tennis Ambassador, Ash Barty.

Goolagong Cawley, of Wiradjuri descent, and Barty, who has Ngarigo heritage, are the only two Australian women to achieve the world No.1 singles ranking in the modern era.

The meteoric rise of Aboriginal tennis star Ash Barty, which has seen the Queenslander win her first Grand Slam title and reach world No.1, will hopefully inspire more Indigenous youth to pick up a racquet.

Tennis Australia Chair Jayne Hrdlicka was delighted with the success of the first Carnival, and is passionate about promoting events like this to make tennis more accessible.

“I’m so proud we’ve been able to bring Indigenous players from across the country together for the National Indigenous Tennis Carnival,” Hrdlicka said.

“The Carnival is pivotal to the growth of our Indigenous tennis pathway and a vital part of building and promoting tennis to all Australian communities.

“We’re incredibly fortunate to have wonderful role models such as Evonne Goolagong Cawley and now our new world No.1 Ash Barty. I’m sure we’ll see more and more players being inspired by these two brilliant ambassadors. They are both inspirational women to our Indigenous communities, as they are to many young women and men around the world,” Hrdlicka continued.

“The NITC is a vital event for the Indigenous tennis in the NT and around the country, and we are very proud to be able to host this event in Darwin,” Joe Kelly, Tennis NT Indigenous Programs Manager said.

“Tennis has definitely grown in the NT in regards to the awareness of the sport and we are definitely starting to see higher engagement with tennis around the Territory and within different communities.”

The 2019 National Indigenous Tennis Carnival will take place at Darwin International Tennis Centre and there will be a range of cultural activities on offer for both the players and the wider community.

World-acclaimed Aboriginal performers Djuki Mala will also take to the stage for a community concert on the evening of Friday 30 August. Tickets are on sale from today via Eventbrite, with kids under 12 free, and $10 for adults.