Communities across the East Gippsland and Towong Shires are set to get a boost to their spirits as the Australian Tennis Foundation’s Rally As One initiative returns to bring tennis to the regions.
Launched in November 2020, Rally As One was established to support communities impacted by the devastating bushfires of the same year and saw the global tennis community come together to raise funds as part of the Australian Open Aces for Bushfire Relief campaign.
“We know that tennis is an amazing vehicle to promote mental well-being and social connection... we hope to bring some of those benefits to these regions that need it most.”
The campaign was spearheaded by Rally for Relief, a spectacular night of tennis and entertainment led by Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Rafael Nadal, Caroline Wozniacki, Novak Djokovic, Nick Kyrgios and Petra Kvitova just prior to the Australian Open 2020.
The funds raised continue to help rebuild vital community infrastructure in the worst affected areas, as well as deliver programs that reduce barriers to participation and build social and community connections through tennis.
“The towns on our Rally As One tour are incredibly resilient, but have faced some significant challenges in the last few years through natural disasters and then COVID-19,” Executive Director of the Australian Tennis Foundation Vicki Reid said.
“We know that tennis is an amazing vehicle to promote mental well-being and social connection, and with these free community events and activations, we hope to bring some of those benefits to these regions that need it most.”
The Rally As One Tour will kick off with a free community event in Genoa on Saturday 22 October and continue on to other affected areas including Mallacoota, Orbost and Omeo before wrapping up in Corryong, where professional player Arina Rodianova will be joining, on Friday, October 28.
The Rally As One community events in Orbost and Corryong will coincide with AO on the Road - a trophy tour that will see the magnificent Norman Brookes Challenge Cup and Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup visit more than 20 regional towns across Victoria in the lead-up to the Australian Open 2023.
“AO on the Road is a wonderful initiative because it creates a tangible
connection for people across Victoria to the amazing event that is
the Australian Open,” Australian tennis champion and former Davis Cup
captain John Fitzgerald said.
“Having travelled to many towns as part of AO on the Road myself, I’ve
experienced how special it is to be able to bring these magnificent and
historic trophies to country Victoria. It’s also a great opportunity
to showcase our fantastic regional tennis communities and the
tremendous work so many are doing to get more people of all ages
involved in tennis.”
At the events in Orbost and Corryong, members of the community will have the chance to pose with the silverware, affectionately known as Norm and Daphne, like so many AO champions have before them. Live music by prominent local artists, appearances by tennis legends, craft for kids, come-and-try Tennis Hotshots afternoons, food trucks, games and prizes will add to the festivities.
“We are proud to be partnering with Tennis Victoria on this tour to introduce more than 300 kids to tennis and provide schools and clubs in these regional communities with the equipment and programs they need to continue playing,” Vicki Reid said.
The fun-filled photos presented here were taken at the Rally As One community event that took place in Orbost on Monday.
Wonderfully, the event was a huge success with the turnout far exceeding expectations.
Be sure not to miss this Friday's at Corryong, and get a chance to meet Arina Rodianova!