TENNIS UNITING COMMUNITIES
How did tennis help a Hervey Bay resident settle into the town?
As the AO Blitz makes its way around Australia, it is
highlighting how the sport can unite communities.
This was evident in Hervey Bay in Queensland, where tennis is thriving. The Hervey Bay and District Tennis Association upgraded its facilities earlier this year, which included the installation of three MLC Tennis Hot Shots courts and a clubhouse renovation. The $110,000 upgrade was funded through club fundraising efforts and community support.
Hervey Bay resident Beryl Natoli can attest to the community spirit in the area.
Natoli, a former Gold Coast resident and a life member at the Tweed Heads Tennis Club, is now a committee member with the Hervey Bay and District Tennis Association.
“It’s a fantastic club and the atmosphere around it is just brilliant,” she said.
It was tennis that helped Natoli settle into the community when she moved there 15 years ago. This came as no surprise to her, as tennis had always been a big part of her life.
“My dad was always involved in sport and when I started playing tennis it was more of a social thing, it would be a community picnic and a chance to play,” she said. “I’ve been playing for 65 years now and there have been so many highlights.”
The 74-year-old still plays and is showing no signs of slowing down.
“Tennis is a sport that is absolutely brilliant, no matter what age you are,” she said. “I still play three times a week and if there is an event like the club championships on, I’ll enter that too.”
When she is not playing, Natoli is a regular at the club courts where she enjoys helping out and passing on tips to junior players.
“All the young ones are so lovely and it is so rewarding seeing them improve and enjoying it,” she said. “I like encouraging them to be part of our tennis world.”
Hervey Bay tennis coach Luke Harvey from Ace Tennis spoke highly of Natoli’s involvement in the club and local community.
“She's a fantastic helper at the club and is always first to put her hand up to help,” he said.
Natoli said she was thrilled to experience the recent AO Blitz activation in Hervey Bay.
“I think the AO Blitz is a great innovation and I had a great time being part of it,” she said. “It was special to be able to hold the Australian Open trophies, although I was surprised at how heavy they were.”
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