Local Primary school children with TSA, BNP Paribas and RCS representatives at the launch of the National Primary School Championships at Arthur Ashe Centre in Soweto on Tuesday. Photo: Frennie Shivambu

SOWETO   Grass roots tennis in South Africa has received a significant boost following an announcement by BNP Paribas and their finance subsidiary RCS, regarding a partnership with Tennis South Africa (TSA) to launch the ‘Rising Star Tennis’ initiative together.

The partnership which aims to increase youth participation in the sport via a national primary school’s tennis challenge, was officially launched on Tuesday at the Arthur Ashe facility in Soweto.

The countrywide initiative aims to provide tennis access to children, targeting hundreds of primary schools across the country, including schools in historically disadvantaged communities in South Africa.

According to Richard Glover, CEO of Tennis South Africa, the seven-month competition in 14 tennis districts, and nine provinces across the country, which start in August, will set out to nurture tennis, and widen its participation and appeal, in order to diversify the sport and enrich the South Africa’s junior talent pool.

South African international tennis star Kevin Anderson will be the face of the initiative which aligns with his long held desire to develop tennis in South Africa and make it accessible for all.

Anderson, a US Open and Wimbledon men’s singles finalist in 2017 and 2018 respectively, will, as the brand ambassador of the Rising Star Tennis challenge, be heavily involved in the programme and is promising some exciting developments, as the initiative progresses.

“I have always been extremely passionate about giving back to the game at home, and I strongly believe developing future South African Tennis stars needs to begin with a grass roots revolution,” said Anderson.

“Together with BNP Paribas, RCS and Tennis South Africa, I want to achieve just that, as every child at primary school level should have the opportunity to play and fall in love with tennis. This is a fantastic initiative to increase the profile and legacy of the sport in South Africa, and I can’t wait to witness the discovery of some amazing tennis talent.

“Remember to keep an eye out for more information on Rising Star Tennis, as there will also be more exciting announcements to come.”  

African News Agency (ANA)