Tennis coach Matt Klein with St Mary’s students Teneisha Butler, Jack McElhone, Sarah Hockings, Mitchell Scheiwe, Lauren Mann and Joshua Blake at the MLC Hot Shots program.
Tennis coach Matt Klein with St Mary’s students Teneisha Butler, Jack McElhone, Sarah Hockings, Mitchell Scheiwe, Lauren Mann and Joshua Blake at the MLC Hot Shots program. Gerard Walsh

Schools urged to bring back tennis

BRING back tennis to the schools is the message from new Warwick Tennis Association coach Matt Klein.

Yesterday, Klein spent his second day at St Mary’s Primary School as part of the MLC Hot Shots Program which is jointly funded by Tennis Queensland, the Warwick Tennis Association and MLC.

St Mary’s is the first school to take up the offer for year 3-4 students but Klein said he was likely to take the program to Warwick West State School in a fortnight.

“We want to get all schools involved, Tennis Queensland wants tennis back in schools,” Mr Klein said.

Klein had taken time out from the international circuit to coach and is enjoying it.

“I live in Brisbane and travel each week to coach in Warwick and Chinchilla,” he said.

“I wouldn’t mind working full-time in tennis.”

St Mary’s deputy principal Anne Standing said the school was keen for children to get an opportunity to experience different skills.

“It is a sport which has been demonstrated people can play throughout their lives,” Standing said.

Association vice president Cliff Pickering agreed saying one player aged 89 played tennis in Warwick.

“We have a number of players in their eighties,” Pickering said.

Once children move through the ranks, Klein will be able to tell them a bit about the journey from school to club and circuit tennis.

He won two futures doubles titles in Kazakhstan and made finals in the United States and Venezuela as he rose to 730 on the world rankings and 27 in Australia.

“The players ranked 100 to 200 in the world break even and those under 100 make a good living from the sport,” he said.

His serve was timed at 215 kilometres an hour in a game against Xavier Malisse at the Brisbane International, 36kmh less than the fastest recorded.

Coaching in Warwick and Chinchilla is a world of difference for Klein from a year ago when he was travelling the world circuit.

Klein sees the children at St Mary’s similar to himself when he was hitting balls with his dad at Gundiah, half way between Maryborough and Gympie.

“We used to commute to Maryborough for pee wee tennis, a lot of the students at St Mary’s have excellent hand-to-eye co-ordination,” he said.

Students who attend any MLC Hot Shots session will be invited to another free session at the Warwick tennis courts.

The St Mary’s students are invited to a free session on June 20 from 3.30pm to 4.15pm and can then book for term three coaching at $9 a session.

More details from Klein on 0409 069465, Cliff and Alma Pickering on 4661 3866 or association president Nathan Costello on 0403 630510.



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