#VicsAtTheAO – All Abilities Day | 24 January, 2023 | Tennis Victoria – Tennis Australia


24 January 2023 | Tennis Victoria
The Australian Open has hosted its first ever All Abilities Day. All Abilities Day aims to celebrate and provide opportunities for all members of our tennis community to experience and enjoy the AO.
Today we recognised all our many diverse and inclusive formats of tennis, including people who have vision, hearing, mobility, sensory and or intellectual disabilities. We invited different groups of the community to enjoy a day at the AO and have a hit on the courts before the matches started.
Kids pose on Tanderrum Bridge on All Abilities Day, Day 9 of the 2023 Australian Open at Melbourne Park, Tuesday, January 24, 2023. MANDATORY PHOTO CREDIT Tennis Australia/ MARK PETERSON
With exclusive access to the entire precinct, the participants were all excited to be on court this morning. Members from the Victorian College of the Deaf, Wheelchair Tennis, Advantage Autism, Blind Sport and Recreation Victoria, Special Olympics Australia and Down Syndrome Victoria.
Players from Victorian College of the Deaf, Advantage Autism and Blind Sport and Recreation Victoria were all invited to the different arenas for ‘Kids on Court’ this morning.
Kids pose on Tanderrum Bridge on All Abilities Day, Day 9 of the 2023 Australian Open at Melbourne Park, Tuesday, January 24, 2023. MANDATORY PHOTO CREDIT Tennis Australia/ MARK PETERSON
Marnie Kerridge is a teacher at the Victorian College of the Deaf, who came along with the kids this morning.
Marnie believes it is a great initiative for the kids to be part of the tennis community.
“It’s important to ensure that there is access, interest and passion for tennis for the kids.”
“We have participated in the Tennis Victoria program where the kids develop their tennis skills every week. Being deaf sometimes its isolating participating in sport so developing the skills is very important for the deaf kids to be included in the community and be a part of the sporting community.”
With All Abilities Day, the kids got to experience the Australian Open like no other.
“It is very good for the kids to come here and see what’s possible; that organisations and community do want them and do value that and its great for the parents to see their kids have a go and see the possibilities. The world is limitless it’s great to have access and opportunities.”
All abilities players play doubles on Court 5 on All Abilities Day, Day 9 of the 2023 Australian Open at Melbourne Park, Tuesday, January 24, 2023. MANDATORY PHOTO CREDIT Tennis Australia/ MARK PETERSON
Some of our Victorian Wheelchair tennis players were also invited onto Margaret Court Arena and were surprised by Wheelchair Tennis Champion Dylan Alcott. The players practiced their skills on Margaret Court Arena.
Dylan Alcott at a presser on All Abilities Day, Day 9 of the 2023 Australian Open at Melbourne Park, Tuesday, January 24, 2023. MANDATORY PHOTO CREDIT Tennis Australia/ MARK PETERSON
We also had the pleasure of watching the Blind and Low Vision players having a hit on Show Court 3. The players from Blind Sport and Recreation Victoria played some Doubles in the morning before having a hit on the Pop Tennis Courts with Dylan Alcott.
Blind and low vision players play doubles on Show Court 3 on All Abilities Day, Day 9 of the 2023 Australian Open at Melbourne Park, Tuesday, January 24, 2023. MANDATORY PHOTO CREDIT Tennis Australia/ MARK PETERSON
Down Syndrome Victoria and Special Olympics Australia were invited to the AO Tennis Club in the afternoon.
Dylan Alcott poses with tennis players at the AO Tennis Club on All Abilities Day, Day 9 of the 2023 Australian Open at Melbourne Park, Tuesday, January 24, 2023. MANDATORY PHOTO CREDIT Tennis Australia/ MARK PETERSON
One of the Down Syndrome Victoria participants Shae Macdonough has always loved tennis and enjoyed her day at the AO today.
“I really enjoy the tennis. We had a look at some of the doubles earlier which was good. The reason I love tennis so much is that my Nan used to play. “I also like coming here to see all the players in the public eye. My favourite players are Jelena Dokic, Nick Kyrgios and of course Lleyton Hewitt.”
“The best part of today has been looking around at all the places here and just being with my friends. I tried Padel tennis and I did okay. I normally do heaps of exercise so I wanted to practice this as well.”

James Hammond, State Manager at Special Olympics Australia believes tennis is extremely important to Special Olympics community.
“Tennis is making a significant impact in the community particularly with our athletes at Special Olympics here in Victoria, it is particularly great having the Australian Open here in Melbourne.”
“We have a great growing tennis program and having tennis become more accessible with different forms of tennis is a great experience for our athletes. Our tennis athletes have been able to come to the Australian Open today to enjoy the tennis and have absolutely loved it.”
“We have a few of our other athletes who actually are employed and are working at the Australian Open. Its absolutely incredible, tennis has become their life and its amazing to see their confidence grow and them flourish as people as a result of being in tennis.
Today, the Specials Olympics crew that joined us today took part in some Pop Tennis and Padel tennis; two different formats of the game.
“Both forms have been absolutely incredible and our athletes have loved all of it but I think the Padel has been the favourite. The way the balls can bounce off the wall and go all over the place and still counts as in; they love it. It’s just a different take on tennis and its been a lot of fun.”
“Personally my favourite part of today is seeing the athletes smile and the enjoyment that they get out of being part of something like this. The athletes haven’t stopped smiling all day. We were fortunate enough to have Dylan Alcott come down and they loved seeing him and he was great with our athletes. It’s been a fantastic day all around and we have all had a lot of fun.”

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