Next month, Carla Lenarduzzi will be the sole Victorian to represent Australia at the INAS World Tennis Championships.
Surrounded by team mates from her three mid-week ladies teams, last week Carla was surprised with a presentation of her uniform and a cheque for $1,000 from Tennis Victoria to support her efforts in the UK in April.
As a child, Carla was dragged along to the tennis courts every week and made to sit still while her brothers played comp, junior tournaments, Pat Pearce Carnival etc.
Carla hated tennis.
Peter Smith, one of the teachers at the school Carla attended, is also a tennis coach. Peter had some talented tennis pupils (eg Lleyton Hewitt, Peter Carter, John Fitzgerald) and he organised a 'come and try day' for the Special Ed kids.
Carla went (under protest) to the 'come and try day' clutching her brother's racquet.
Peter said Carla has talent - pretty amazing because she stood with her back to the net!
Now Carla's brothers come and watch her.
Carla has represented Australia six times and is ranked no 2 in Australia for Players with an Intellectual Disability and is no 5 in the world for PWID. She plays midweek ladies three days a week and a social league for Tennis World.
Tennis is her life.