Buninyong opens up tennis courts in new ways to play

ACCESSIBLE: Buninyong District Tennis Association's Jason Squires says a new on-demand way to play aims to encourage more players to get on court. Picture: Lachlan Bence
ACCESSIBLE: Buninyong District Tennis Association's Jason Squires says a new on-demand way to play aims to encourage more players to get on court. Picture: Lachlan Bence

TENNIS officials in Buninyong have been forced to take a closer look at the sport in a bid to get more people pick up their racquet more often.

Buninyong and District Tennis Association hopes a new on-demand system will play to greater flexibility for those considering a hit.

BDTA committee member Jason Squires said players numbers, particularly for traditional formats like pennant, had been gradually declining on most courts across the state. This was a way the association could better meet modern players’ needs.

The improved online booking system will give players a code valid for access to a court session with automated lighting, if needed.

“We’re one of many sporting associations that has been feeling the pinch in trying to do what we can to increase numbers,” Mr Squires said.

“Busier lives in general make it hard to commit every Saturday, sometimes for six hours, in the summer. We don’t know the exact solution but if we can get more people playing on our great court facilities, it might encourage them to play more.”

Buninyong has also introduced the Fast4 shortened format of the game for social competition, without the need to commit to traditional club tennis.

Fast4 modified rules includes first to four games wins, always playing lets and next point wins at deuce.

Mr Squires said the BDTA, like most country tennis associations, used to have to turn players away for country week.

He said now numbers could be sparse in what was the height of the summer season with school holidays and people wanting to go to the Australian Open.

They had to come up with alternatives.

Buninyong Tennis Centre features eight Plexipave courts. Affilliated clubs can stretch from Ballan to Beaufort and Mannibadar to Gordon.

Tennis Australia’s Book a Court program was piloted in 2015-16 and has since been installed in more than 85 venues nationwide.

The program was recognised for innovation excellence in the Australian Sports Commission participation awards.

Players can book online or find out more at buninyongtennis.org.au.

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