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Tennis professional calls for investment in UAE

Inspire2coach’s Tennant believes grassroots development events are key

Gulf News

Dubai: A visiting tennis professional has urged coaches and the governing body in the UAE to regroup at grassroots level if they are to take the sport to the next level.

Mark Tennant, Director of the UK-based inspire2coach, conducted a three-day coaching workshop here last weekend — his second visit to the UAE in as many years.

“This is definitely a start that we have all made and it is now up to the teachers and Tennis Emirates to continue the momentum to take things forward,” said Tennant, who runs tennis development programmes for world governing body the ITF all over the world.

“What we’ve done this week is make a start and it is nothing more than that. I don’t think we should get carried away. By coming here I can create the enthusiasm by sending out a few good ideas and a good dose of creativity and encouragement. But the work of the tennis association and the work of the coaches and teachers should have an ongoing momentum — that’s the important thing.”

The three-day inspire2coach workshop was part of an ongoing programme funded by Olympic Solidarity in cooperation with the ITF and Tennis Emirates. At the end of the workshop, which was held at the Leaders Qualification Centre in Al Ghusais and Le Meridien Hotel, all 33 teachers and coaches were awarded with certificates.

“All of them now have the experience to be able to take away the ideas and the confidence so that they can organise mini-tennis events in their schools and start building up the sport,” Tennant said.

“Ultimately champions ought to start playing tennis somewhere and this is the start. It is important that tennis in the UAE is developed, even if they do not become champions. It’s just that we have some more players. And these players come from the schools and they join the clubs and then progress upwards. It’s about growing the sport. It’s not just about the champions.”