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Yesterday Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for Sport and Recreation, Yvette Berry, announced that Canberra will play host to a Fed Cup tie against the Ukraine in February 2018.
The tie will be played at Canberra Tennis Centre, Lyneham’s $27 million tennis facility on natural grass, which will be laid approximately four weeks out from the tie.
Led by Captain Alicia Molik, the Australian side includes Ash Barty, Sam Stosur, Dasha Gavrilova and Casey Dellacqua. The tie holds special significance for the Australian team, as a win will result in the opportunity to play against eight of the best teams internationally in the World Group.
Canberra has a strong tennis community, with nearly 13,400 players, just under half of which participate as part of the ANZ Tennis Hotshots program run through ACT primary schools.
The program, which is designed to help children start playing tennis, has seen a 177% increase in the last financial year.
Forrest Primary tennis Hot Shots witnessed the announcement and were captivated by Tennis legend Casey Dellacqua. Dellacqua, who made her debut for the Fed Cup team in 2006, delighted the young players, asking them about their sport and posing for photos.
While it’s hoped that the event will attract visitors to Canberra, the tie presents an opportunity for our tennis community – particularly young girls and women – to see female elite players in action.
“Ash, Dasha, Casey, Sam and Alicia, are really incredible role models that will inspire a new generation of kids, especially young girls, and adults to get on the court, and we couldn’t be happier to welcome the Australian Fed Cup team back to Canberra. We can’t wait for this unique tie on natural grass in February” said Tennis ACT CEO Kim Kachel.
Minister Berry highlighted the importance of having visible role models for young aspiring athletes.
“This is going to be an amazing and great competition here in the ACT, great for the tennis community, and an opportunity for people like Casey and other superstars in the tennis world to be able to get down to grass roots, have a chat to kids like those here today through Hot Shots, so that they can see what they want to be through some of our amazing tennis starts coming here to the nation’s capital.”
Dellaqua spoke of her own experience in the nation’s capital, and the team’s delight in having the opportunity to play at Canberra’s world-class facilities.
“I’ve spent a fair bit of time here throughout my tennis career but I was thoroughly delighted to see what I saw when I walked into the facilities, they really are great.”
The tie will certainly present a challenge to the Australia team, who are well versed in the skill of the Ukraine team following their clash in February this year.
“I think we’ll put on a great spectacle and I know that all of the Fed Cup team members will be thrilled to come to Canberra and really put on a good show” says Dellacqua.