a diverse workforce where everyone feels valued, respected and heard. Two, we want to be a sport that reflects the diversity of our communities across all levels of our game, and three, we aim tocreate events in which we celebrate our values, showcase the diversity of our game and ensure we are welcoming, accessible and inclusive of all people.
Tennis Australia is committed to delivering on all three fronts however, it is not without its challenges.
Within a sporting ecosystem there are so many stakeholders to consider. One key challenge is bringing all stakeholders on the journey in a meaningful and authentic way.
We have the enthusiasm and passion for Inclusion and Diversity in Australian tennis which is a great platform to build from. The conversation we are having within our teams is what changes we can make within our business units and environments to reach our goals outlined above. This includes teams owning and budgeting components of our Inclusion and Diversity strategy – an approach that’s helping mature and embed inclusion and diversity throughout our organisation which in turn should increase our reach and impact.
Beyond Tennis Australia, Inclusion and Diversity needs a sector-wide approach across all sports. People with disability, First Nations people, multicultural and the LGBTQ+ communities are all still less active than the general population. By focusing on being more inclusive, sport will not only provide opportunity for these underrepresented groups, but it will also increase participation across all sports, unearth new talent, and produce more volunteers, coaches, and officials.
Being more inclusive will be a key component for all Australian sport to grow our game and make this country more active.
Many would agree that this is a fantastic aspiration but ask, ‘how can professionals in our space actually make an impact?’
We need a collaborative approach within the sport sector.
We need funding and resources that enable the sport sector to be more inclusive. We would benefit from a platform and network where we can share ideas, find innovative solutions to problems and potentially try to tackle some of the bigger issues together, such as racism in sport.
This year, Tennis Australia hosted a Glam Slam, a world first LGBTQ+ tennis tournament hosted at a Grand Slam, at the Australian Open. The Glam Slam was first created by a local LGBTQ+ tennis club in Melbourne (VicTennis) and alongside Tennis Australia became one of the biggest LGBTQ+ sporting events in the country. At AO22, Ralph Lauren came on board as a presenting partner demonstrating how organisations can work together to have a broader reach and impact. We had people attend the Glam Slam who have not historically felt safe or welcome at sporting events and loved their experience. One of the key learnings from the Glam Slam at AO22 was reiterating the importance of creating dedicated safe and welcoming pathways into our sport but also ensuring that inclusive environments are promoted and offered in communities around the country year-round.
Tennis Australia was proud to provide the Glam Slam supported by Ralph Lauren and we look forward to a future in sport where such inclusiveness and diversity is the norm.