Australian tennis legend and former Davis Cup captain, John Fitzgerald, is assisting Tennis Australia’s drought relief efforts by attending community fun days at regional tennis clubs across the nation.
The new initiative is designed to unite drought-affected communities through tennis, with the Briagolong Tennis Club community celebration kicking off Tennis Australia’s drought relief project which will involve an initial eight clubs across Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland.
The clubs will host a series of free events to encourage communities to come together, have fun and remind people they are not alone during times of adversity.
John Fitzgerald will be on hand to help bring some joy to a town that is suffering the devastating economical, physical and emotional effects of the long-standing drought.
Born in regional South Australia, Fitzy, as he is affectionately known, understands the importance of providing opportunities to bring people together through sport in rural towns across Australia.
“The drought has exacted a huge emotional toll on farmers, their families and whole rural communities,” Fitzgerald said.
“Sport is so often the lifeblood of country towns and plays a vital role in these communities.
“It played a major role in the social fabric of the community and was quite often central to gatherings.
“If we can help provide some light relief and bring people together through tennis, particularly when there is such hardship, then hopefully we can make a difference and have a positive impact on the lives of these hard-working people.”
The magnificent Australian Open trophies – the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup and Daphne Ackhurst Memorial Cup will be on display during the events.
There will also be music, barbecues, entertainment and face painting, along with tennis activities for all ages.
In line with the Joint Agency Drought Taskforce led by Major General Stephen Day, Tennis Australia will support and prioritise initiatives in communities that are facing particularly challenging times.
Through the National Court Rebate Program (NCRP), Tennis Australia can ensure that community assets and infrastructure are in place to be able to bring the community together through the power of tennis.