7 May 2013
The recently concluded Soweto Open for men was not only about taking the game of tennis to the people, it was also about teaching children the game, thanks to a partnership between Tennis South Africa and radio station Kaya FM.
A tennis development clinic was held on the weekend at the Arthur Ashe Tennis Complex for children from Soweto and the greater city of Johannesburg area, who were selected through a promotional drive by Kaya FM.
The juniors and their parents were also invited to the men’s singles final of the Soweto Open, which was won by Canada’s Vasek Pospisil.
Specialised tennis clinic
Prior to the final, they were given a two-hour specialised tennis clinic by South African professional players Ruan Roelofse, Dean O’Brien and Chanel Simmonds. Three coaches from the Soweto Development Project administered by Tennis South Africa managed the clinic with the sponsors.
Tennis South Africa monitored the talent during the clinic to identify any participants that they feel were talented enough to join in with the Soweto Development Project operating out of the Arthur Ashe Centre.
The president of Tennis South Africa, Wire Zondi, said it is was encouraging to see the kids out on the courts having so much fun.
‘Here to stay’
“The Arthur Ashe Tennis Complex is here to stay and is an important part of the development of sport in Soweto,” he said. “We need to get more and more kids onto the courts and enjoying this beautiful game. With enjoyment comes great satisfaction and word of mouth that tennis is the game to play.”
Zondi also complimented the pro players for taking time out to give back to the game by attending the clinic. “I am impressed with Dean, Ruan and Chanel for making the time so early on their day off to spend two hours on court with the kids. Their involvement is key to the success of development. They are heroes and kids need heroes to inspire them and look up to.”
The women’s Soweto Open is currently on the go, with the final scheduled to take place on Saturday.
Entrance for spectators is free, and directions to the Arthur Ashe Tennis Complex are available on www.tennissa.co.za.
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