The coronavirus pandemic is not over yet, but we need to restart. Like the professional circuit, several amateur realities have come back to life. Even the Tennis World Foundation, after the important work in support of less fortunate children in the hardest period of the pandemic, has started to grind ideas again.
After many preliminary initiatives (which still remain valid), there is now a proper competitive project directed towards enhancing these initiatives. The fields of the Van der Stel Tennis Club in Stellenbosch are hosting the Tennis World Tour, a circuit of 11 tournaments that will be followed through towards the end of 2020.
This is a very important initiative, which offer many practitioners the opportunity to resume competitive activity and maybe meet new people to play with. The charitable purpose is certified by the use of the registration fees: 50% of the proceeds will go to the Tennis World Foundation and to finance its projects.
The success is already remarkable, since the first tournaments took place on the weekend of 4-5 September, with the beauty of 47 members. The interest is above all for the youngest, with events dedicated to the Under-11 and Under-13 categories (both among boys and girls).
A “lean” formula is used, with a 4-game set and tie-break at 3-3, along the lines of what is already happening at the ATP Next Gen Finals. This system allows you to concentrate tournaments in a few days, guaranteeing children to play as many games as possible.
In this sense, the formula is very interesting. The tournaments start in a round-robin format of groups of four players, with the top two from each group entering the knockout stage. However, even the eliminated can continue to play in the "back draw", a real consolation board that prolongs the stay on the spot for all the kids.
The success has been remarkable. The first titles went to Katinka Hanekom (Under-11 girls), Dawid Fourie (Under-11 boys), Alicia Taylor (Under-13 girls) and Sebastian Oosthuizen (Under-13 boys). These names are worth noting, also because the Tennis World Foundation has never denied a competitive vocation.
The main mission of the organization remains the possibility of giving a future to children who could not have been able to have it independently, but the most deserving will be supported in their technical growth. The hope is that several guys from the Foundation will be able to challenge the participants of the Tennis World Tour as soon as possible which, with its large number of tournaments, will provide significant help to the Foundation's projects.
The events are divided into three categories (Slam, Challenger and Futures) and are both reserved for the youngest (up to the Under-15s) and open to people of all ages, through the “Open” events. For the Under-11 and Under-13 categories, there is also a ranking based on a mini-circuit of six tournaments, with the possibility of qualifying for the “Master” at the end of the year, in which the eight-best players will take part.
There is also the possibility to challenge your opponents to win points and improve your ranking. In short, as soon as it was possible, Tennis World Foundation – thanks to the energy of its founder Federico Coppini – has got off to a great start, finding the healthiest way to relaunch its business: many tennis matches and thousands of opportunities for growth, sports and social. And we are only at the beginning.