The Singapore Tennis Association (STA) has developed a number of comprehensive initiatives to groom young players and promote tennis among the community. (Photo by VoxSports)
In the lead up to the much-anticipated Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Championships in October, there has been an exciting and far-reaching spread of activities planned to provide a boost to the local tennis scene.
STA has developed comprehensive initiatives to groom young players and promote tennis among the community. (Photo by VoxSports)
The Singapore Tennis Association (STA) has played a crucial role in creating this tennis hype. Dedicated to improving the quality of tennis in Singapore, the STA has developed a number of comprehensive initiatives to groom young players and promote tennis among the community.
For the general public, the STA has launched the “Play and Stay” programme – where both children and adults alike may experience the thrill of tennis in a leisurely manner, with relevant equipment to help them to ease into the game.
STA General Manager, Gregory Tan, refers to this initiative as a “mini tennis programme”, and emphasises the importance of making tennis as inclusive a sport as possible.
“One of our big initiatives is promoting tennis in the grassroots… We are working very closely with the Singapore Sports Council through the Community Engagement Programme, and we are trying to get this programme through to various sports clubs,” he commented.
STA also aims to promote tennis among the younger generation, and this is being achieved through opportunities such as the Ballkids programme, where young tennis talents are put through various camps and trainings, working towards their chance to rally with top women’s tennis stars at the coming WTA.
STA is working closely with Singapore Sports Council to promote tennis at the grassroots level. (Photo by VoxSports)
On a higher level, the STA has taken on a series of structured programmes catering to the requirements of players who intend to play tennis professionally. These include a Full-Time Tennis Programme (FTTP) in Singapore Sports School, the Junior Development Squad (JDS) for talented players under the age of 14 and the National Training Squad.
STA has taken on a series of structured programmes catering to the requirements of players who intend to play tennis professionally. (Photo by VoxSports)
Such initiatives have definitely been instrumental in the growth and development of our young rising tennis stars. Shaheed Alam, 16, has been under FTTP in the Singapore Sports School since April 2013, and describes his experience thus far as a “fun and enjoyable one”. And to add to his list of achievements, he looks forward to competing beyond Singapore’s courts in the coming months.
He added: “I’m going to Brunei next week (March) for an ITF (International Tennis Federation) Tournament, and representing Singapore at the end of April for the Junior Davis Cup in Kuching…Hopefully I can represent Singapore in the SEA Games next year!”
Under the FTTP, players juggle with both training and classroom lessons every day. However, their efforts do not go unrewarded, as they are granted vast exposure and experiences.
An older member of the STA, Adelo Abadia, echoed Shaheed’s sentiments, calling it a “good experience”. A tennis veteran and assistant coach at 37, he shares that he has gained much knowledge throughout his tenure in the STA.
In the STA Open Championships, which concluded on 1 March, Adelo went head-to-head with his very own student, Isaac Ong in the finals. After an intense game, Adelo emerged as champion for the men’s singles, while Isaac placed as a runner-up.
Meanwhile, Shaheed managed to place as a semi-finalist in the same event. On the women’s end, STA’s Wee Khee Yen claimed the winning title.
The next few months will be a time of much activity and anticipation, as athletes of all levels of experience look forward to the exciting international tennis action in October.