It's not every day that you get to meet a real-life Prince. During the school holidays on Saturday 7 April a group of tennis players from our School joined the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Fundraiser to play real tennis in the presence of The Earl of Wessex, Prince Edward. Real tennis is the original tennis game and played with solid handmade balls on a large indoor court with a wooden racquet with a very small sweet spot.
Ivanhoe students George, Isaac, Cooper, Annalise, Claire and Georgia competed in the Melbourne Tennis Club event to promote the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award. Annalise had this to say about the event, "It was really exciting to get to play this unique form of tennis and meet a Prince."
The students were coached by Royal Melbourne Tennis Club real tennis professionals, including explorer Dr Kate Leeming, who has five Australian Open singles and six doubles titles. Through Ivanhoe Grammar School’s Global Citizenship Centre, students will also share Kate’s upcoming Breaking the Cycle South Pole expedition, speaking to her via video link. This year Kate is conducting a series of lead-up expeditions before a supported attempt to be the first person to cycle across the Antarctic continent, coast to coast via the South Pole on the world’s first all-wheel drive FAT bike.
Dr Kate Leeming on Real Tennis
“Real tennis is another passion that I learned when I was in the UK after my Russian expedition. After two years I became a professional, one of only two working women professionals in the world. It is a very challenging sport, physically and intellectually - often described as a combination of tennis, squash and chess. It appealed to me because I was able to take my skills and experiences from several other sports that I achieved highly in (squash, hockey, cricket, athletics and tennis) but, at the same time, had to be open-minded to learn and apply some of those skills to a new game.”
It was a fantastic opportunity for our students and everyone had a great time learning all about this historic form of tennis.