Ash Barty fronts Tennis Australia’s push to keep girls playing sport

World number one women’s tennis player Ashleigh Barty is the face of a campaign for Tennis Australia to encourage girls to continue playing sport.

Research by Sport Australia Aus Play has found that one in three girls will drop out of sport by the age of 18, primarily due to peer pressure and body image issues.

In the ad, Barty conveys the message that girls should play sport for their own benefit and no worry about how they look or how good they are, summarised in the tag line ‘I Play For Me, You Play For You’.

Barty took at two year break from tennis at the age of 18 to “experience life as a normal teenage girl”. Barty said that the campaign resonated with her because she was frequently told that she was too short to play tennis.

“I think the #PlayForYou campaign is beautiful because it encourages girls from across Australia to get involved, choose their own path and not listen to societal pressures. I was told a few times along the way that I was too short to make it,” Barty said.

“I have always loved playing sport and remember picking up a tennis racquet for the first time when I was five. I have made so many friends and met so many wonderful people through my tennis journey. I feel very fortunate for the opportunities tennis has provided me.

“In addition to the health benefits, sport is a fantastic way to develop confidence and feel good by doing something physical. I hope to see more girls take up sport, whatever they choose.”

In the ad, Barty is joined by six girls aged 13 to 14, and her three-year-old niece Lucy. For Barty, she will feel successful if just one girl decides to continue playing sport.

“If one girl decides to play sport – or not give up playing sport – then I’ll be extremely happy. I encourage girls and women to share their sport journeys the campaign, using the campaign hashtag #PlayForYou.”

Tennis Australia CEO and Australian Open tournament director, Craig Tiley, said Barty was the perfect role model.

“We know girls often feel intimidated joining a sports club or exercising in public and we want to remove as many barriers to participation as possible,” Tiley said.

“Ash Barty is the perfect role model for young girls to challenge the status quo. She’s an unconventional champion who had the courage to do it her own way.”

The #PlayForYou campaign is supported by the $12m Federal Government fund that will expand opportunities for women and girls in Tennis, including female coaches, specific training programs for girls, and leadership and mentoring programs.

Josie Brown, chief marketing and insights officer at Tennis Australia, said: “We hope the fun, colourful and encouraging nature of the #PlayForYou campaign content will grab the attention of girls, breakdown barriers and inspire girls to stay in sport.”

“The aim of our marketing is to tell emotive and relatable stories through tennis, and we are very fortunate to have Ash Barty as the ambassador of this campaign, she is a natural fit.

“Ash has tackled many challenges that young girls still face today, she speaks authentically about her experiences and is comfortable doing so. Ash is aspirational, and a much-loved Australian who genuinely cares about keeping girls active and enjoying sport.”

The campaign will be executed on television, social media and Tennis Australia’s social media channels.


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