With 82 career singles titles, seven singles grand slam titles and decades of advocacy for young indigenous Australians, Evonne Goolagong-Cawley’s legacy is set in stone.
As tennis royalty, not to mention a brilliant role model, who could say no to the chance to learn from the former world number one.
That is the opportunity available on March 7 when Goolagong-Cawley hosts a free indigenous tennis come and try day at Shepparton Lawn Tennis Club.
Children aged between five and 15 can get along for tennis lessons, fun activities and an inspirational talk from the legend herself.
Organiser and national indigenous head coach Anzac Leidig said the fun day would have a big emphasis on promoting healthy living.
‘‘Basically it’s tennis as a vehicle to get young indigenous children into something healthy,’’ he said.
‘‘There’s a free healthy lunch and we teach them tennis and we just want to see them having fun.
‘‘Evonne has a chat with them and gives a really inspirational message about being good role models.’’
Pathways exist to take selected youngsters from the come and try day to Goolagong-Cawley’s state development camp — right through to a national development camp in Melbourne.
But Leidig said the Shepparton event was about a lot more than finding talented players.
‘‘Some kids are really good, but the majority come along just to have a fun day,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s a really positive day, a lot of our coaches are indigenous themselves and have been through the program.
‘‘There’s a pathway there and if they listen and try their best they could be selected for some free coaching worth $1000.’’
And what message does Goolagong-Cawley share with the aspiring athletes?
‘‘Basically it’s about trying your best; she talks about how she hit the ball against the wall, and every day she’d come back and try and beat her record for most hits in a row,’’ Leidig said.
‘‘That’s about making the most of what you’ve got.
‘‘Also she talks about getting out of your comfort zone. She left home when she was 11 or 12 to train tennis with her coach to try achieve her dreams.
‘‘These events are Evonne’s second dream; her first dream was to win Wimbledon, and her second one was to help bring better health and education to young Aboriginal children.’’
Interested parties can get involved with the March 7 event by getting to Shepparton Lawn Tennis Club at 10am.