Tennis World Foundation is launching a tennis development centre in Ida’s Valley on 9 February 2022. The foundation was granted a lease to manage the Ida’s Valley tennis facility through a partnership with Stellenbosch Municipality and the Ida’s Valley Sports Council.
The structure includes six tennis courts and a club house, with great potential as it is in the larger Ida’s Valley sport complex that has high sports density with two football fields, a hockey field, a cricket ground, and six netball courts. There is also green space that lends itself to future sport development.
Tennis World Foundation has taken on the refurbishment of two tennis courts, the internal and external fencing of courts, perimeter fence repair, club house renovation and the maintenance of the green space around the courts. Stellenbosch Municipality took on the refurbishment of four of the tennis courts. The work started in October 2021 and the first phase is completed. The second phase of the project will initiate in 2022 toward the establishment of world-class tennis development centre for Stellenbosch children.
“Tennis is the ideal vehicle for promoting the physical, social and personal development of children and young people. Our programme is offered free of charge to schools and individual players that do not have the resources needed for professional coaching and competition support. Our objective is to provide all children with an equal opportunity to play and excel at the sport. Just think how wonderful it would be if Stellenbosch could produce a Wimbledon winner,” said Federico Coppini, founder and CEO of Tennis World Foundation.
TWF was established in Stellenbosch in 2019, to develop the game of tennis amongst children and youth in Stellenbosch and the Boland region. Their objective is to introduce children to tennis at schools, to give them the opportunity to enter the world of tennis.
“The local and international tennis circuits represent great opportunities for youth. This ranges from school and university bursaries, travel opportunities, careers in administration and coaching, and of course the opportunity to compete professionally and be paid to play. We hope to launch a generation of great South African tennis players,” adds Coppini.
TWF have offered several tennis programmes to Stellenbosch schools since 2019 including the broad introduction of tennis at schools (Hello Tennis Programme), the formation and coaching of school teams (Team Tennis Programme), specialised coaching for high performance players and a range of tennis tournaments. Services are currently being provided to 8 participating schools and 15 high performance players. The programme will grow to include 10 schools in 2022.
TWF is in partnership with the national and regional tennis federations, being Tennis South Africa (TSA), the Western Cape Tennis Federation and Cape Winelands Tennis. This formal partnership is built on mutual support towards the advancement of tennis among children in South Africa.
Tony Loubser, Vice-President of WCTF and responsible for its Development Programme, was full of praise for TWF’s efforts to grow the game in under-resourced communities in Stellenbosch. “The growth of the game in these communities should be characterized by the same expertise, effort and professionalism that we see in better-resources communities. This typifies TWF’s approach and WCTF is proud to have TWF as a partner in this space,” he said.
Danie Morkel of Cape Winelands Tennis had the following to say about the development: “Cape Winelands Tennis is really excited about the Tennis World Foundation (TWF) Development program at Ida’s Valley. We believe that the young players of Stellenbosch will benefit greatly from the passion and expertise of this very motivated organisation. TWF development program has already started to take great strides in putting tennis back in its rightful place as one of the major sports in Stellenbosch. CWT is proud to partner with TWF Development Program and also grateful for the support of Stellenbosch Municipality.”
Stellenbosch Municipality has embarked on a new way of leveraging resources to advance sport in the town.
Jeremy Fasser, Deputy Executive Mayor: Stellenbosch Municipality, went on to say that “this partnership is a really exciting venture for Stellenbosch. Not only will it reignite the sport in the Stellenbosch community but also within Idas Valley, who has a proud history of tennis within the community. And tennis is not only a competitive sport; it can also be played on a social level and is a great way to make new friends and spend time outdoors. What makes tennis also attractive is that it can be played by all ages and all levels.”
The project is part of a hybrid sports facility management model where non-profits, and sports organizations partner with the municipality and local sports management bodies to provide improved access to sport in communities.
“The tennis development centre in Ida’s Valley is a perfect example of how government, the local community, private sector and regional and national sport structures can work together to grow sport and increase opportunities for aspiring sportsmen and sportswomen” Gary Boshoff, Director: Community and Protection Services, Stellenbosch Municipality expressed.
The project will provide Stellenbosch schools and individual children the opportunity to play and participate in tennis, with the support needed to compete and enjoy the benefits that the game offer.
“I am really excited about the link between the tennis development centre and our local schools, offering talented young tennis players the opportunity to get the best coaching and opportunities to compete at club and representative levels, right here in Ida’s Valley” said Geraldine Mettler, Municipal Manager, Stellenbosch Municipality
The various sports codes, including tennis, works together with the Ida’s Sports Committee to advance the rich sport offering at the Ida’s Valley sports facility.
TWF is working in line with the Tennis South Africa (TSA) development objectives both nationally and regionally.