Australian tennis legend inspires Fleurieu students to hit the court

Australian tennis legend and former Davis Cup captain John Fitzgerald, has paid a special visit to the Fleurieu, providing about 150 reception students with new tennis racquets, thanks to ANZ and Tennis Australia.

The former South Australian spoke to large groups of students at Victor Harbor R-7 and Port Elliot Primary Schools, promoting the sport of tennis and discussing his journey to becoming a successful professional player.

The visit was part of the ANZ Tennis Hot Shots Roadshow, now in its third year, which aims to encourage school-aged children nationwide to pick up a racquet and play tennis.

Speaking to students, John said it was a pleasure to be back in South Australia discussing his passion with young people, who he hoped would use their new gear to get involved in the sport.

"It's such a great thing that ANZ and Tennis Australia are doing, now having provided about 140,000 tennis racquets to young students," he said.

John fielded a variety of questions ranging from how he developed his skills, to what made him pursue tennis as a career, and what he has enjoyed doing since.

He was then joined by Sharon Hajek and Shane Cleggett from ANZ's local Victor Harbor branch to present reception students from each school with brand new racquets.

In 2019, 30,000 tennis racquets will be delivered to first year primary school students in more than 500 schools around the country as part of the program.

By the end of the year, ANZ's ongoing support of the racquet initiative will have seen a total of 140,000 racquets delivered to students in Australia since 2015.

ANZ Group Executive, Australia Business and Private Bank, Mark Hand, said many ANZ customers were passionate about tennis and the bank was thrilled to be renewing their support of tennis in Australia.

"This program enables us to support the sport throughout hundreds of Australian communities," he said.

"We're committed to growing this sport across the region and ANZ Tennis Hot Shots is a continuation of our investment into grassroots participation."

Growing support for the program follows the recent release of a 25-year observational study which found racquet sports, including tennis, can increase life expectancy by almost 10 years.

"As a national sporting body, we have an opportunity to make a positive contribution to getting kids active," Tennis Australia's Chief Tennis Officer, Matt Dwyer said.

"I believe tennis is uniquely placed to help put an end to the inactivity crisis that is currently facing this next generation of children in Australia."