More than 1,300 schoolchildren from local schools in the UAE took to the courts at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium (DDFTC) on Monday for the ATP JP Morgan Kids’ Day. The morning of activities included a tennis clinic led by coaches from the CF Tennis Academy, before enjoying entertainment, photo opportunities and a meet and greet with three top ATP players.
2020 Australian Open Doubles winners and 2019 Champions, Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram joined the children in the clinic and interacted with the young enthusiasts giving them a one-of-a kind opportunity to learn some tennis techniques. The children also had the chance to meet ATP ranked No 27 Pablo Carreno Busta and received some tips on how to improve their game and how to stay focused whilst playing.
Doubles champion Ram was delighted to be a part of the kids day: “Yeah it’s great, we do these things at a lot of the events and it’s very rare that you have so many kids who are very enthusiastic, it’s a lot of fun for us to see kids play tennis, it’s just fantastic. I hope they get inspired because it sure seems like it with so many of them coming out to watch the men’s and women’s weeks,” he said.
Salisbury added: “It’s amazing to be back here, we had a great experience last year. To get involved in days like this is incredible to see how many kids are out there and how many love playing tennis. Hopefully it will inspire them to keep going and keep playing tennis after watching and interacting with top ranked players in the world.”
The JP Morgan Kids Clinic has always been a tremendous success in the history of the DDFTC and a huge number of schools have been part of this special day over the years.
“JP Morgan is proud to sponsor the JP Morgan Kids Day at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. Kids Day is a highlight for us during the tournament, as it is all about the children. It is wonderful to witness how motivated and inspired the children are by the great players who participate in Kid’s Day,” said Khaled Hobballah, joint-senior country officer for Mena and head of Mena Markets at JP Morgan. “Exciting events like these help to further develop the children’s love of the sport and show our commitment to the next generation of leaders in the region.”
Barry Matthew, a PE teacher from Gems International School said he brought 124 kids today for an opportunity to play with professionals. “Days like these are great for the ones who play the sport of tennis for sure! We did a tennis unit in our school a couple of days back, so we were able to connect it with what the kids can achieve and learn from the stars playing with them,” he said.
A student from Wellington International School said: “This is an amazing experience because it’s a nice chance to meet the players and appreciate the sport of tennis. My favourites are Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams, so I want to be like them when I grow up.”
The children, from 33 schools, then moved to Centre Court for more entertainment and a chance to experience playing on the big stage, before meeting singles player, Busta. The tennis star joined in the fun on court, having a hit with some of the lucky children, before hitting some autographed balls and signing some T-shirts for the excited crowd, making it an extremely memorable day for the kids.
“We are always delighted to kick-start ATP week with so many kids from several schools enjoying themselves on our courts. We hope that by having the opportunity to meet world-class tennis stars inspires them to get more involved in the game. We are very proud of this initiative and will undoubtedly continue this for the foreseeable future,” said Tournament Director Salah Tahlak.
The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships runs until February 29. For tickets, go to dubaidutyfreetennischampionships.com.