Darling Heights State School prep student Kiel Rodriguez is excited to get his hands on a new tennis racquet, as Australian tennis great John Fitzgerald (behind) watches on.
Darling Heights State School prep student Kiel Rodriguez is excited to get his hands on a new tennis racquet, as Australian tennis great John Fitzgerald (behind) watches on. Matthew Newton

Tennis legend hands out racquets to prep students

PREP students at Darling Heights State School mightn't have known who the seven-time tennis major championship winner was, but that didn't quell their excitement when it came to getting a free racquet today.

Australian tennis legend John Fitzgerald dropped by Darling Heights State School today to hand out 100 free tennis racquets from the ANZ Bank to eager young students. 

While Mr Fitzgerald reached the peak of his career 20 years before they were little more than a twinkle in their parents' eyes, the prep students were delighted by his visit to the school.

Standing before them, Mr Fitzgerald explained, "there's a really good bank in Australia called the ANZ Bank". 

"And they're going to give you a racquet," he said. 

"Yes!" chorused the prep students. 

Mr Fitzgerald asked them if anyone had played tennis before, prompting another cry of "yes!"

One by one they lined up, shook hands with Mr Fitzgerald and representatives from the ANZ Bank, and took their reward.

Darling Heights State School principal Mark Creedon said the event was a "fantastic opportunity" for the school and the prep students and that the school loved to be a part of anything that promoted sport. 

Though he added that it was probably more exciting for people of his generation. 

He said that if only 5 per cent of the kids who received a racquet went on to play tennis, it was worthwhile. 

"What about another John Fitzgerald coming from Darling Heights State School? Wouldn't that be great?"

Mr Fitzgerald is currently in town for the Hutchinson Builders Toowoomba International and was joined at the school by local ANZ Branch representatives Jennifer Rix and Marcus Barnard. 

The ANZ Tennis Hot Shots Racquet giveaway has seen more than 80,000 racquets delivered to primary school students across the country since 2015. 



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