GRIFFITH will host a member of tennis royalty when former world number one Evonne Goolagong-Cawley visits the city this Saturday.
Goolagong-Cawley will be in town to host the Learn Earn Legend tennis day which aims to teach Indigenous kids how to play the game, while encouraging them to stay in school and get a job when they leave.
The former Barellan resident said she was excited to return home and help out the community that helped her when she began her tennis career.
“I had a dream to go to Wimbledon and I achieved that first dream, and my second dream is to get as many Indigenous kids playing tennis as possible,” she said.
“I couldn’t have done what I did without the support of the townspeople of Barellan.
“I couldn’t afford to enter into comps but the town supported our whole family and entered us in the coaching school and that’s how I got noticed.”
As well as inspiring local Indigenous kids to stick with school and be a “legend” in their community, Goolagong-Cawley will also be on the lookout for any young locals who show promise with a racquet.
“During the come and try day we will pick out a few of the kids who show enthusiasm, keenness and some hand-eye co-ordination,” she said.
“Those who are really keen we’ll give them some coaching lessons and send them a racquet.
“If they stick to it we’ll put them in our state camps to help them develop further and give them some good opportunities.”
But Goolagong-Cawley said the day was mainly about having a bit of fun, hitting a few balls and taking away a positive message.
“It’s about staying in school, getting that job and becoming a legend,” she said.
“Getting an education is important and I had to stay in school all the way through. I was always told it was good to have something to fall back on.
“We want the kids to just get out there, have fun and, if they enjoy it we want to help them continue playing.”
The day kicks off at 10.30am at the Griffith Tennis Club on Noorilla Street and is open to any Indigenous kids aged five to 15 years old.
Along with 14-time Grand Slam-title winner Goolagong-Cawley, national Indigenous coach Ian Goolagong will also be at the day, along with a host of other coaches.