I rise tonight to acknowledge and highlight an event that I attended in my electorate last weekend, and that was the match of the inaugural Charles Sturt Adelaide International tennis tournament, which was hosted by the West Lakes Tennis Club at West Lakes in my electorate. The event is part of the ATP Challenger Tour and the Australian Pro Tour, and is the highest-level tennis tournament in South Australia since 2008.
This tournament came from very humble beginnings and now is Adelaide’s biggest-money tournament in recent history. I would like to congratulate the City of Charles Sturt and Mayor Kirsten Alexander for supporting this wonderful event. It is a brand-new event for the Australian Pro Tour and is one of only two events of its kind in 2013. As well as the $50,000 prize money, players also compete for points on the coming year’s challenger circuit.
This tournament was a great opportunity to watch amazing tennis talent. A total of 32 Australian and international professional players, including Australian Davis Cup player Chris Guccione and South Australia’s own Luke Saville. This was a great event not only for the high quality tennis but also for my local community. Local children were trained to be the tournament’s ball kids and entry was free for spectators. There were special free events on Sunday, including cardio tennis and come and try tennis hot shots.
The West Lakes Tennis Club is a community club which I am proud to support. They offer competition and social tennis to players of all ages and skill levels from beginners to advanced players. The club has hosted other significant events such as the masters games and the university games. They also have lawn bowls on the premises, indoor bowls, bridge, dancing, yoga and many other events and activities for their community all year round. The West Lakes Tennis Club is a shining example of what can be achieved when you work in partnership with local communities. The club was built between 1985 and 1987 in partnership with the Charles Sturt council and residents and neighbours of the West Lakes area. This was a hugely successful international tournament which also supported the local community and I hope that the tournament stays here for many more years to come.
For the West Lakes Tennis Club, their hard work does not stop here. They have plans to use this tournament to grow membership of juniors, seniors and social players, and to leave an infrastructure that will suit these tournaments and allow spectators to watch their players coach and train, and, of course, be a first-class facility for the community to use as well.
This event was a great opportunity for the next generation of young tennis players to be inspired. Who knows, in a few more years we could have another South Australian tennis champion like Lleyton Hewitt, who grew up in the West Lakes area and who was inspired by these sorts of international competitions.
The tournament also allows our own home-grown Australian talent to compete in an international tournament on home soil and helps improve their game. Australia’s Matthew Barton won the inaugural Charles Sturt Adelaide International, defeating Great Britain’s James Ward in straight sets 6-2 6-3 in the final at West Lakes Tennis Club. The game was played in front of an enthusiastic crowd of more than 500 people. In the doubles, Australian pair Sam Groth—the man with the fastest serve ever recorded, at 263 kilometres per hour—and Matt Reid defeated Greg Jones and James Duckworth in an all-Aussie match.
I want to acknowledge and congratulate the West Lakes Tennis Club, club president Col Lawson, Tennis Australia, Tennis SA and the City of Charles Sturt, as well as all of the staff, officials, volunteers and competitors who all made this event such a huge success. I also want to make special mention of Jan Blake from the West Lakes Community Centre, who is a tireless volunteer worker in the community; Jan looked after us on the day and was a great host. I look forward to working with and supporting them to make sure our local community and the residents of South Australia will enjoy many more years of outstanding tennis when they come to support the Charles Sturt Adelaide International held at the West Lakes Tennis Club.