WORLD number 1 tennis player Rafael Nadal is set to add to his already considerable fan base as the whole of the Camden Haven will be cheering him on - he will be representing Kendall Kendall Tennis Club at the Australian Open.
Tennis Australia’s national tennis participation competition, the AO Blitz aligns all main draw players, 128 men and 128 women, with 256 towns across Australia.
The No.1 town, announced yesterday as Kendall, had their choice of the top seed from either the men’s or women’s draw, effectively becoming a whole-town cheer squad for their nominated player.
Kendall blitzed the competition with the biggest little tennis club taking on clubs from around Australia. Members completed online challenges to accumulate points for their club. Kendall's final "tennis power" score was 159.24%. Second place went to Cooroy in Queensland with 116.71%, Parkes NSW was third with 107.03% and Moorooduc in Victoria was fourth on 104.23%.
Kendall Tennis Club president Wendy Hudson said this summer represents a season of success for the club.
"I'm so proud our community got behind the club and supported us in this competition," Wendy said.
"Support from schools - Kendall, Hannam Vale, Herons Creek, Johns River, st Joseph's and Camden Haven High - was strong and our individual members really got into the spirit of the competition. Now we have Rafael Nadal representing us!"
There was been a fierce rivalry between the top four towns during the interactive online competition.
As part of the AO Blitz initiative 103 towns staged community participation days, involving 73,000+ attendees, and more than 35,000 challenges were completed in the online competition.
"It’s an amazing campaign that has really brought local communities together," said Craig Morris, Tennis Australia’s Direction of Participation.
"Getting involved in the AO Blitz and having one of the world’s best players representing your town is the reward for the thousands of people that got involved and completed more than 35,000 tennis-themed challenges. The incentive here for communities is to have their town represented on the world stage. It’s very exciting."
In more big news for Kendall, the major prize - a brand new Kia Sportage - has also been won by a Kendall identity.
Paul Calicetto was randomly drawn from all registered AO Blitz participants. Paul had accumulated a total of 182,900 and completed 10 challenges.
"The Calicetto family are all playing members of the Kendall Tennis Club and are worthy winners of this fantastic prize," Wendy said.
"I'm so excited and couldn't be happier for them. All five are great supporters of the club."
Other AO Blitz prizes:
· Australian Open finals tickets awarded to the man and woman who lead the individual points challenge - Nine year-old Jemma Gossow from Palmerston (NT) and 13-year-old Ethan Phillips from Hervey Bay (QLD)
· Schools with the most points and most registered players will win an installation of two MLC Tennis Hot Shots mini-courts (yet to be announced)
· The tennis club with the overall highest number of points will win a special prize package, as will the highest ranked clubs in each state and territory.
The two Australian towns aligned with the eventual Australian Open singles winners will host an AO Blitz spectacular tennis party early in 2014.