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If you ask the average person to name a major Australian Tennis Tournament, it would not be a surprise if the answer was the Australian Open. After all, it is not only the biggest tournament in Australia, but it also holds the honour of being one of the 4 “grand slam” tennis tournaments alongside Wimbledon, The US Open and The French Open. It brings the top players in the world to Australia, and the media coverage is global and rightfully so for such a prestigious event.

Now, name another major tournament in Australia. It really depends on what you believe qualifies as a major tennis tournament. If you believe it is the quality of the field and the media coverage, then it would be pretty easy to just list a few tournaments based on the above criteria. But I chose another direction for this article. For me the following rank highly because of their importance in not only the game of tennis, the game of life and Australia.

Paralympic Games

Wheelchair Tennis Anyone?  Yup, wheelchair tennis is not only a thing, but has been a featured event at the Paralympic Games since 1992. They play on the same court, with the same net and the same equipment as able bodied players with the singular rule change allowing 2 bounces of the ball. And by the way they have a grand slam schedule as well.

So at number 2,  I am going to place the Australian Open Wheelchair Championship. Like its counterpart, the Australian Open, this too is a grand slam event.  I place this highly because this can help to serve as an inspiration to those with a similar condition.  For young people perhaps feeling that they will miss out on much of life, this event and its players might help  to show them that anything is possible and that they can compete at a high level if they desire and maybe, just maybe they will be reminded that we are all just differently abled and that they can have a dream and they can achieve that dream.

Grassroots Tennis

The Australian Made Foundation Cup is grassroots tennis at its finest and is the only opportunity for young Australians (13 and under) from regional and rural Australia to compete nationally. Trials are held nationwide and it culminates in the Australian Made Summer of Tennis. Australian Made is not just about tennis, but the importance of their promotion and sponsorship of tennis is good for the continued growth and success of tennis in Australia. Encouraging and enabling participation by the next generation is a key factor in this endeavour.

In case you have any doubt about the importance of this to Australia on the world tennis stage, consider that all time Australian tennis greats such as Rod Laver, Margaret Court and Pat Rafter have their roots in country areas. More recently, players like Wimbledon Junior Champion Luke Saville and Jessica Moore an Australian Fed Cup player have been participants in this event. Because the specific importance of this event to Australia, I would rank this in my top 3.

Regardless of whether you agree with my choices, I am sure you will agree that each of them showcases something special about tennis in Australia.

If you play tennis, why not enter one of our night competitions, you never know, it could be the springboard to improve your own game.

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