Tennis Townsville can now officially lay claim to being the best tennis club in Queensland after taking out Club of the Year at the 2016 Queensland Tennis Awards.
It’s been a big year for Tennis Townsville. Named Club of the Year at the 2016 Queensland Tennis Awards in Brisbane in October, the club has also recently completed a five-year upgrade. Winning the award is particularly sweet for the club as it has endured some hard times in recent years.
“Damage from Cyclone Yasi in 2011 meant we had to build four new courts and in 2012 a further eight of our courts were overdue for resurfacing,” Club President Michael Kern says.
“An additional three courts handed over to us from another club were declared unplayable and unsafe in 2013 and then 2014 saw a significant downturn in the local economy affecting our memberships and sponsorships.”
All up, the club has spent almost a million dollars improving facilities, including new and resurfaced courts, extra seating and court lighting. The entire infrastructure upgrade was organised by Tennis Townsville’s Vice President, Vic Bayer, with grant funding from the Queensland Government, Tennis Australia’s National Court Rebate Scheme, Port of Townsville Rotary Club, a Tennis Australia loan and Tennis Townsville fundraising efforts and sponsorships. Vic was awarded the coveted Queensland Volunteer of the Year award for his efforts, which was the icing on the cake after Tennis Townsville won Club of the Year.
The Club of the Year award was hotly contested among the 245 affiliated clubs, with Townsville winning ahead of other short-listed finalists based in South-East Queensland: Roy Emerson Tennis Centre, Southern Cross Tennis, Matchpoint Tennis and Mooloolaba Tennis.
“The award means a lot to Tennis Townsville because it demonstrates that through a team effort we can all work together to achieve great things,” Michael says.
“Despite tough times, the management committee, staff, coaches, volunteers, sponsors, the government and other funding providers all joined forces and it’s resulted in an amazing outcome.”
Tennis Townsville was established as the Townsville Lawn Tennis Association in 1911 on its current site at 32 Burke Street, North Ward. In 1995 it was renamed Tennis Townsville Inc and there are few tennis clubs in Australia like it that can boast having had a male and female player in the top 10 Australian rankings. In September 2016, John Smith ranked 10 for men and Lizette Cabrera ranked 4 for women. Both were born in Townsville and were coached at Tennis Townsville by professional coach Wayne Hannah.
“I was fortunate enough to be present court-side at Wimbledon in 2015 to watch John play in the first round of the Tennis Championships,” says Michael.
“John reached a career high world ATP singles ranking of 108 in September 2015 and Lizette reached a career high world WTA singles ranking of 258 in September 2016, following her recent wins at ITF events in Brisbane and Tweed Heads.”
Tennis Townsville caters for all standards of play, offering group coaching for children and adults, for beginners through to advanced players.
“Children can start learning tennis as young as four with our ANZ Tennis Hot Shots program that uses modified courts, racquets and balls,” says Tennis Townsville Centre Manager Liz Jones.
“Our December School Holiday Clinic will take place December 12 to 14 and is a great opportunity for children to try tennis for the first time.”
Adults have a range of options, including social tennis, night fixtures competitions (women’s, men’s and mixed), Over 35s, Fast 4 Tennis, Cardio Tennis and group or private coaching. Additionally, anyone can hire a tennis court, day or night.
“The club has experienced a surge in numbers among members and tournament entries in the 12 months to 30 June this year,” Liz says proudly.
“More than 900 people were registered at the club at the end of 2015 – a 200 increase on the same time the previous year. The club’s tournaments – the CQUniversity North Queensland Open and Ergon Energy Junior Championships – also attracted an extra 50 players.”
With a strong focus on transitioning players from ANZ Tennis Hot Shots to regular competitions and fixtures, Tennis Townsville is a club to watch in Queensland’s quest to develop the next Grand Slam champion out of our home state.
“We’ve been selected as a finalist for the Newcombe Medal, Australian Tennis Awards, for Most Outstanding Tennis Club for 2016 and together with Vic Bayer, who has been nominated for the Volunteer of the Year Award…”
“While we’re enjoying a surge in interest and participation at the junior levels we’re also very keen to see the veteran members of our community (over 35s) coming down and joining in the greatest game of all,” Michael says.
“Tennis is truly one of the sports that can be enjoyed from about four years of age through to the late eighties.”
While completing its redevelopment, Tennis Townsville has also worked hard to help raise over $45,000 for charity in the past three years, partnering with local organisations such as the Townsville Hospital Foundation and Headspace.
“Our next Charity Tennis Night will take place on March 24 next year and we’ll be raising funds to support the Townsville Hospital Foundation,” says Liz.
“We’ll be looking for local businesses to support the event by entering a team of employees or by donating a prize we can raffle. The focus of the night is on fun, so participants don’t have to be great tennis players. There will be prizes for the best-dressed team and opportunities for team building and networking with other local organisations.”
Oh and did we mention Tennis Townsville is also in the running to win a national award?
“We’ve been selected as a finalist for the Newcombe Medal, Australian Tennis Awards, for Most Outstanding Tennis Club for 2016 and together with Vic Bayer, who has been nominated for the Volunteer of the Year Award, I’ll be attending the gala awards night in Melbourne,” Michael says.
“I’ll let you know how we go!”
For more information, visit www.tennistownsville.org