Kooyong Foundation Corporate Pro-Am presented by Askin Performance Panels

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Courtside Magazine

One of the founders of the Kooyong Foundation’s Corporate Pro-Am David Bidmeade calls it the “winning formula”.

One of the founders of the Kooyong Foundation’s Corporate Pro-Am David Bidmeade calls it the “winning formula”.

The third edition of one of Australia’s unique tennis events brought together 14 corporate teams packed with tennis lovers to play alongside past and present professional stars, as well as Kooyong Foundation scholarship-holders.

It was all in the name of raising money for aspiring kids who hope to use tennis as a vehicle for future success, whether chasing their grand slam dreams or gaining a college degree, or even three – like Corey Clarke who recently graduated from New Mexico State University.

Another roughly $100,000 was added to the Foundation’s coffers from this year’s Pro-Am, helped by the generous support of major sponsor Askin Performance Panels.

“It’s getting bigger and better, and it’s just a really fun day to be a part of. That’s the bottom line of it – it’s enjoyable,” the Foundation’s Talent Manager Bidmeade said.

“Then as far as the Foundation, in terms of development programs in Australia, there’s literally Tennis Australia and the Kooyong Foundation.

“There’s not much else, where you can go and get support for travel, training, coaches, the US college program … there are a lot of opportunities for players in the foundation, so the money goes towards that.”

John Millman was among the pros who competed ahead of his final Australian Open, while Sam Stosur, Wayne Arthurs, Sam Groth, Paul McNamee and Marc Polmans – who has scored a wildcard into next month’s Melbourne slam – were also involved.

Dual Brownlow medallist Chris Judd and Olympic gold medal-winning rower James Tomkins were the highest-profile ‘amateurs’, at least in a tennis sense.

There was also a glimpse into Australian tennis’ future with the scholarship kids, including standout talents Koharu Nishikawa and Ymerali Ibraimi.

Nishikawa has already represented Australia at underage level, while fellow 14-year-old Ibraimi, who modelled his huge serve off Nick Kyrgios, just won his maiden ITF junior title.

BlueRock Investment took the honours on the day, winning two of the three 10-point match tie-breakers to defeat defending champion Property Investor Portal in a high-quality final on Kooyong’s sun-drenched grass courts.

The BlueRock team comprised captain Jarrod Broadbent, Jack Broadbent, Glenn Busby, Chris Preston and Theo Mitsinikos, with Arthurs and scholarship-holder Melrain Hu drafted into the squad.

“It was the first time I’ve played it, and it was a brilliant day,” Jarrod Broadbent said.

“I played with Wayne Arthurs in my junior days, but I hadn’t seen him for like 30 years.

“I personally enjoyed playing against Polmans in the final, and it was a buzz to win overall. I’ve been in tennis for a long time, but it was really exciting to play the final in front of so many people. We’ll definitely be back next year.”

Stosur, the 2011 US Open champion, has been part of all three Kooyong Foundation Corporate Pro-Ams and already confirmed she would be back for 2024.

“I think they run a great event, and obviously the corporate people put in thousands of dollars to do this,” Stosur said.

“Everyone wants to be here, everyone wants to go out and play tennis, have fun and have a hit, and it’s just a nice little way to give back to the sport.

“I know with my team this year, [one of them] was like, ‘Oh, god, I’m on court with you, ‘Grothy’ and James Tomkins – how good is this? When can you ever say that?"

“It’s just a great opportunity for everyone who loves tennis to get together and raise some money for a good cause.”

By Marc McGowan

Kooyong Foundation Corporate Pro-Am ladder

We respectfully acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club stands today the Wurundjeri People of the Kulin Nation and pay respect to Elders past, present and emerging.
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