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Schools across Dubai are getting into the swing of things in the lead up to the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships (DDFTC), with nearly 1,000 children from 11 schools participating in the Partner Schools Programme.

The programme is developed to create a legacy from the championships by providing children with the opportunity to try tennis and to get involved with the event through academic and sporting activities and through participation in the JP Morgan Kids’ Days.

The 11 selected partner schools have been visited in the weeks leading up to the tournament with the students participating in a tennis taster clinic with teachers and coaches, playing the championships tennis inflatable game, meeting the DDFTC mascots Ace and Annette, and seeing the trophy. Schools who participate in the programme are also invited to the JP Morgan Kids’ Days on Mondays of both the WTA and ATP week.

“Our students had a fantastic time last Thursday, testing their target practice on the tennis inflatable, mingling with mascots Ace and Annette and getting their hands on the coveted DDF Tennis Championship trophies. Thanks so much for giving them this opportunity,” said Matthew Rushworth, Head of History and Politics at Partner School Dubai College.

In addition, partner schools are invited to nominate children between the ages of 11-18 years to be part of the Junior Reporter programme. The selected children are given the opportunity to participate in post-match press conferences and to ask a question of one of the tennis players during their interview. The Junior Reporter will also have a photograph taken with the player, and be given a tour of the media room.

And in a new initiative this year, the first ever Tennis Academy Youth day will be conducted on the first day of the tournament. The day will offer more than 500 students at Tennis Emirates affiliated academies the opportunity to participate in a tennis skills and drills clinic, and the chance to interact with some star tennis players.

“It is great to see so many children engaging in our programmes and activities, both in the lead-up to and during the tournament,” said tournament director Salah Tahlak. “Creating a legacy in the community through increasing participation in tennis is important to us and we are proud to be introducing new activities and participation opportunities each year to support and enhance our outreach programme.”