NOW is the perfect time for kids to get involved with tennis, according to Hot Shots coach Phil Shanahan.
“There’s been so much tennis on TV over the past few weeks,” Shanahan said.
“Hopefully we’ll see more kids get out there and start playing tennis.
“Hot Shots aims to make it easier for kids to start playing tennis from a young age.
“There are modified balls, smaller racquets and smaller courts that make it easier to have good rallies.
“All kids want to do is get the ball back over the net.
“I remember when I first started playing and I was using my granddad’s racquet, which was way too big for me.
“It’s different with Hot Shots.”
There are about 700 children enrolled in the Hot Shots program, and Shanahan wants to encourage more girls in particular to pick up a racquet.
“There’s been a worldwide drop in the participation of girls in tennis,” he said.
“Netball attracts a lot of girls, and the Hot Shots program aims at getting kids to start a little bit younger.”
Shanahan said he hoped the achievements of Casey Dellacqua and Sam Stosur at the Australian Open would inspire more girls to turn to tennis.
“Both girls have achieved a lot,” he said.
“Casey is a particularly good ambassador for the sport, and Sam’s continued success is great for Australian tennis.”
The Albury-Wodonga region has produced some impressive tennis players in the past, and Shanahan is hopeful of uncovering Australia’s next tennis star.
“Sam Groth is one of the great players to have come through our region, so we’re looking for the next big thing from here,” he said.
Another of those great Border tennis players is Shanahan’s son, Mark, who is back on the Border after coaching Matt Ebden at the Australian Open.
Ebden, ranked 67 in the world, reached the second round before going down to Canadian 28th seed Vasek Pospisil.
For more information on the Hot Shots tennis program phone Phil Shanahan at Albury on 0421 467 836, Cameron Meagher at Wodonga on 0422 137 891 and Paul Sykes for other areas on 0418 699 485.