WHEN Marcus Wills arrived in Kyneton 18 months ago, tennis was a fledgling sport in the town.
However, thanks to the work of Kyneton Tennis Club coach Wills, the game has enjoyed a resurgence, with numbers growing significantly.
Wills' work with the Kyneton Tennis Club was officially recognised on Wednesday night at the MCG when he was the recipient of the Minister's Award at the Victorian Community Sports and Recreation Awards.
"Kyneton is a bit like most country towns where 20 years ago everyone was playing tennis," Wills said.
"But for a number of reasons, that had fallen apart when I got up there 18 months ago, so we're now just trying to get the community back playing tennis again.
"When I started I inherited nine kids to coach and we're now up to 98 in 18 months.
"I've done a lot of school workshops, run a Hot Shots program that is endorsed by Tennis Australia, and done some work with Windarring (community organisation), while word of mouth has also been very good.
"It was a bit depressing at first when there was only nine kids to be coached in a big town like Kyneton, but the growth has been fantastic."
Wills was presented with his award by Victorian Minister for Sport and Recreation, Hugh Delahunty.
"He has strived to break down the barriers and get local people of differing backgrounds and abilities involved in tennis," Delahunty said.
"His passion and dedication has reinvigorated the Kyneton community."
Wills receives a glass trophy and $5000.