RAFAEL Nadal just gained almost 1000 new supporters for his Australian Open tennis campaign.
The Kendall Tennis Club took a victory in the Australian Open blitz, and Nadal will now represent the tiny town when he takes to the court later this month.
Should Nadal win the final, Kendall will get a big street party in town, thanks to Tennis Australia.
The Blitz put towns from across Australia into battle against each other. The aim was to get as many people on the courts as possible, via a series of challenges.
Kendall took to those challenges with gusto, and had players aged from three to 80 pick up racquets.
One challenge had Kendall play with 24 people on a single court at once. In another they had to play using sponges.
Plenty of schoolkids got in on the quest. The club had support from Kendall Public School, Herons Creek Public, Camden Haven High, Hannam Vale Public, Johns River Primary and St Joseph’s Primary at Laurieton.
Club president Wendy Hudson said the town might not be big enough to hold everyone who will come together for the party if Nadal came through.
Kendall chose Nadal specifically for the attention it would bring to the town if he won, because the campaign has a serious side.
Winning the challenge and the street party is a bonus, but the real purpose of the campaign is to bring attention to the club’s plight.
Kendall has campaigned for more courts for seven years. The club has 270 members who all have to share the same three courts.
Hudson said the club was keen to get any kind of exposure it could to highlight the situation.
“Hopefully this brings more courts, because we’re desperate,” she said.
Kendall’s win meant it had the choice of either Nadal or the number one women's seed Serena Williams as its ambassador.
Hudson said the choice was purely a promotional one.
Soon there will be signs all around Kendall supporting Nadal in his quest.
“The plan is to do a lot of signage,” Hudson said.
The news of Kendall’s win comes as the club has a handful of representatives as ballkids at the Apia International in Sydney.
Another club member, Hudson’s son Blake, will play the same role at the Australian Open.
There’s more than 300 ballkids at the tournament.
Another Kendall club member is doing well on the court.
Janel Manns is at the pointy end of a competition in New Zealand, after making the finals of the Queensland Open in the singles and the doubles final.