Kids fun at Australian Open 2018
Tennis players can inspire young fans in many different ways. On-court style, technique and personality traits can all be influences, yet off-court meetings often have the biggest impact.
Australian Nick Kyrgios demonstrated this during Australian Open 2018, recalling how as a 12-year-old he would wait by the Melbourne Park practice courts to get an autograph from his idol Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. It is a memory the 22-year-old still cherishes a decade later – as he happily shared ahead of a third round meeting with the Frenchman on-court this year.
The Australian summer is a special time for many kids, as it gives them an opportunity to meet their heroes and be inspired to play.
This was clear at Kids Tennis Day, presented by ANZ Tennis Hot Shots, on the eve of the Australian Open.
Melbourne Park was abuzz with excitement. There was smiles and laughter as children jumped on court to play ANZ Tennis Hot Shots on the same courts where their heroes play.
The heroes joined in the fun too – from Marvel superheroes such as Thor and Spiderman, to the game’s biggest superstars including soon-to-be-crowned Australian Open champions Roger Federer and Caroline Wozniacki.
Australian band Sheppard entertained a packed-out stadium in a Rod Laver Arena Spectacular, with Novak Djokovic and Milos Raonic also involved in an exhibition match.
Similar days at Australian Open Series events across the country throughout January proved just as popular.
Garbine Muguruza and Grigor Dimitrov headlined Kids Tennis Day at the Brisbane International, Frenchwoman Alize Cornet was a hit with kids in Hobart and ANZ Tennis Hot Shots Match Play ambassador Thanasi Kokkinakis brought many smiles to faces at the World Team Challenge in Adelaide.
There were other chances to meet the stars too. Federer played ANZ Tennis Hot Shots with some lucky Perth kids at Cottesloe Beach and many stars dedicated time to meeting their youngest fans to hit or sign autographs.
Inspiration served? There’s no question.