Tennis greats roll into Hume

Dylan Alcott  
Top shot: Australia’s Dylan Alcott.

Some of the greatest wheelchair tennis players in the world will soon touchdown in Hume to play in the Swisse Melbourne Wheelchair Tennis Open.

The international event is scheduled to take place between 18 and 21 January 2016, at the Hume Tennis and Community Centre in Craigieburn.

It will incorporate three separate competitions, being the men’s singles, women’s singles, and the quad’s singles.

The event has great significance because it will act as a qualifying tournament for the 2016 Rio Paralympics.

Cr Patsikatheodorou said she was thrilled that Australia’s Paralympic champion, Dylan Alcott, would play in the open.

“Dylan is number one in the quad’s international tennis rankings, and the Melbourne man has inspired so many people around the world,” Cr Patsikatheodorou said.

“He played crucial roles in the Australian Rollers basketball team which won gold at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics and silver at the 2012 London Paralympics.

“Dylan has become a real advocate for people with disabilities, and he is determined to play wheelchair tennis for Australia at the 2016 Rio Paralympics.”

In 2015, Dylan won the Tennis Australia award for Most Outstanding Athlete with a Disability, and was the first athlete with a disability to be nominated for the Newcombe Medal.

The sportsman also delivered motivational talks in which he reminded people that “the biggest thing was that for every one thing you couldn’t do, there were 10,000 others you could”.

Cr Patsikatheodorou said everyone was welcome to watch Dylan and other sports stars play at the Swisse Melbourne Wheelchair Tennis Open.

“The number one wheelchair tennis player in the world, Shingo Kunida of Japan, will compete at this premier event,” Cr Patsikatheodorou said.

“Shingo has won two Paralympic gold medals and 20 grand slam titles, including the US Open, French Open, and Australian Open.

“The rivalry will be fierce as the world’s best descend on Craigieburn from countries like Belgium, France, Great Britain, The Netherlands, South Africa, South Korea, Argentina, and China.”

The Swisse Melbourne Wheelchair Tennis Open will follow the Tennis Australia Junior Tour Tournament for able-bodied players.

A total of 210 young and aspiring tennis stars shall take part in the competition from around Australia, between 14 and 16 January 2016.

Cr Patsikatheodorou said both events would benefit from brand new courts at the Hume Tennis and Community Centre.

“Hume City Council completed the construction of the centre last year, and it includes 16 tennis courts which can each be flood-lit,” she said.

“A total of 14 courts feature the blue plexi-cushion that is used at the Australian Open, and two courts offer the red clay surface of the French Open.

“The centre includes a café, pro shop, and function rooms, and Hume City Council is thrilled that it will host two big events just months after opening.

“I’d personally like to wish all tennis competitors well as they compete at the Hume Tennis and Community Centre, and call on residents to pop by and cheer the players on.”

The tennis events will be coordinated by Tennis Australia, as well as Complete Tennis Services, which operates the Hume Tennis and Community Centre.

The centre is available throughout the year for people who would like to play tennis.

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Posted on 12:00 AM, 8 January 2016

Updated : 1:27 PM, 8 January 2016

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