Matt Osborne’s passion for tennis and community is one that is infectious on many levels.
Osborne, whose father was the practice partner of Australian great Lew Hoad, was last month acknowledged by Tennis Victoria for his enormous contribution to the Eynesbury Tennis Club, winning, the July Community Champion of the Month.
The small developing community of Eynesbury sits in Melbourne’s outer West, and it’s been the work of Osborne throughout the last 12 months that has seen the establishment of the local tennis club.
After suffering a work injury three years ago, Osborne’s mental health deteriorated but his determined nature saw him bounce back through his love of the local community and tennis.
“I noticed these tennis courts being built around the corner and thought how can I get my mental health back on track again,” he said.
This idea led Osborne, getting in touch with Tennis Victoria and the local council for some assistance to establish a club.
“I reached out to Tennis Victoria last year and then to Melton City Council to see if we could get a tennis club started,” he said.
“I also reached out to a few social media groups in Eynesbury and reached out to the community and got some interest.”
The community interest has seen Osborne significantly grow the club this year, with the township of Eynesbury getting right behind him and providing assistance.
“We’ve got a fabulous township here where a lot of people have reached out asking if they can help,” he said.
Of course, trying to run a tennis club is impossible without volunteers and Osborne has praised everyone who has contributed to form the Eynesbury Tennis Club.
“Without our volunteers, we would never have got the club up and running,” he said.
However, Osborne’s work has come with its challenges. Eynesbury is a developing township with a population of just under 3000 people and this has led to financial constraints for the early life of the club.
Likewise, the threat of other sporting codes has formed the focus of Osborne putting more time into the development of kids within the Eynesbury area.
“There’s a lot of children that live in Eynesbury and a lot of sports available to them as well,” he said.
“AFL is massive in Victoria as everyone knows so getting people outside of the AFL process to play tennis is challenging.”
With Eynesbury not yet having a high school, the local primary school has been the biggest feeder of kids to the tennis club.
“I really want everyone to be able to come and have a hit,” he said.
“It’s just so important that people are able to get out and try something new.”
When Osborne received the award from Tennis Victoria last month, he was quick to dedicate it to the Eynesbury community.
“I’m very proud to have received the award and I couldn’t have done it without my wife and the rest of the community here in Eynesbury,” he said.
“I’m not doing this for recognition, but it was very encouraging to see the award of course and nice to be recognised.”
Osborne’s effort and commitment to his community has been inspirational and with the tennis club growing, he is continuing to make an indelible mark on the younger generations who want to get involved with the sport.
“It’s much more important for me to involve the community in all of this because that’s why I’m doing it,” he said.
The future is certainly bright for the tennis community in Eynesbury and with Matt Osborne continuing to lead the charge, the club will be in safe hands.