Players in the Mid West are aiming to strengthen their presence on the national tennis scene, preparing a team for the main national Aboriginal tournament and looking at pathways into the US college system. Jarron Kretschmann, of SunCity Tennis Academy and Remote Tennis Services, the head coach of the regional development program, said a group of Geraldton-based players on development scholarships aim to represent WA at the National Indigenous Tennis Carnival later in the year. Two representatives were sent from the Mid West last year — Tia Bellotti, from Geraldton, and Lesley Snowball, from Carnarvon. This year, the regional players will compete in a State tournament to gain experience. “The first tour for these young indigenous players will be the 2020 CBH Country Championships in Perth in mid-April,” Kretschmann said. “From here we will work towards having our own Mid West team head to Darwin for the 2020 National Indigenous Tennis Carnival later in the year.” Eight junior players are currently on scholarships, and more could join the group, he said. The program is also supported by the Evonne Goolagong Foundation and Geraldton Sporting Aboriginal Corp’s Healthways Talent ID program. “Tia has been travelling now with us since April last year, having played in a variety of events throughout WA as well as Alice Springs and Darwin,” he said. Junior tennis players Alexis Holberton, Kaleb Mitchell, Aikysia Indich, Caven Colley, Isabella Mitchell and Mia McGrath have joined Tia on scholarships after come-and-try events. They also have the opportunity to become ATP Cup ball boys and girls, he said. Along with partners Murlpirrmarra Connection and Garnduwa Amboorny Wirnan Aboriginal Corp they are also planning a 50-venue remote tennis tour. It is planned to take in the Mid West, Gascoyne, Goldfields, Pilbara and Kimberley later in the year. The group is also working on tennis services for Aboriginal players in the metropolitan area through Clontarf Aboriginal College. Aboriginal players can also undertake development coaching and officiating courses, as well as potentially playing in the US “Since our first Evonne Goolagong Foundation visit in 2017, SunCity Tennis Academy-Remote Tennis Services Australia has facilitated 13 scholarship holders within our programs,” the academy said in a written statement.