Tennis titans’ third triumph

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In the five-year history of the Most Outstanding School Award, Nightcliff Primary School has collected the coveted tennis prize three times.

In again winning the Tennis NT trophy the school has built on its success in 2016 and 2019.

The school’s Transition to Year 6 players are taught elementary to advanced skills in a program involving tennis professionals and participation at world class tennis tournaments.

The training, which is just fun for some students, is also an opportunity to promote the talent of gifted players.

The school’s physical education teacher Mathew Ryan has developed court masters from technically skilled students adept at quickly changing contest strategies.

Mr Ryan said: “Students are taught to correctly hold a racquet, hit balls off a stationary tee, play netless ground tennis, full game play, doubles, tournament play, and tactics such as being a baseline basher or net rusher.

“The training includes local coaches, challenges such as the Territory Cup, the Evonne Goolagong tennis coaching clinics and Indigenous Tennis Carnival programs, pro player visits, and Brisbane International Tournament and Australian Open matches.

“The kids are awed to be on professional courts at these prestigious competitions.

“Contending against top level interstate students in that setting helps our players lift their game to a whole new level.”

Award criteria included the promotion and integration of tennis in the school, a demonstrated increase in students moving to community tennis, and the school’s improvements to local tennis.

The school has won the Territory Cup six times, and the Tennis Australia John Newcombe Medal Most Outstanding School Award in 2013.

The award was conferred at the Darwin International Tennis Centre on 7 November.

Mathew Ryan (right) gives a three-finger victory salute while holding the school badged Most Outstanding School perpetual shield, and a smaller framed version. He is accompanied by former tennis and golf great Scott Draper.
Mathew Ryan (right) gives a three-finger victory salute while holding the school badged Most Outstanding School perpetual shield, and a smaller framed version. He is accompanied by former tennis and golf great Scott Draper.

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