Club tips grassroots tennis programme to produce stars

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The Lagos Country Club, Ikeja, has tipped the Ademiluyi Tennis Foundation grassroots development programme to unearth and nurture tennis talents from the grassroots to the global stage.

The aim of the programme, according to the club, is to produce stars that will take the country back to the top of the game in Africa and beyond.

Speaking at the unveiling of the 20th Dr Joseph Adewunmi Ademiluyi Tournament (JAATF) youth tennis programme, organised in memory of the late Ademiluyi, who was a pioneer member and president of the Lagos Country Club, captain of the tennis section, OmonEhighebolo, said since its inception, the tournament has been a breeding ground for excellent tennis and raising champions yearly.

He said the programme is for children under 18 years, who will also be taken through a clinic on the rudiments and different elements of the sport.

He said the tournament, which was initially made for the club members’ children, has been extended to kids from around the environs with the approval of the late Ademiluyi family.

“We have groomed the kids to play in international tournaments. We are seeing how we can transition players from here into the global circuit. We train the kids here and open them to challenges from around the world. We offer them the opportunity and celebrate their wins or losses.”

He said the late Ademiluyi was particularly concerned about developmental tennis and getting the right technique with tennis, adding: “Tennis is a game of precision-based techniques. It speaks more to what he wants.

“He wanted people to get it right and players to be developed correctly from a very young age, kids from age three to 16. They are in the developmental stage. We play under 10, 12, 14 and 16. All these are developmental stages of the game.”

He said that the average age to start playing tennis is four years, adding that the club has supported many players from their developmental ages “and when they turn 16, they decide to go professional, which is where the foundation has come in.”

A representative and member of the family, Adekanmi, said the best the family can give to Ademiluyi’s memory is what the club has done with the impact on generations that have imbibed the right moral values.

He said he looked forward to having one of the foundation’s kids as Wimbledon champions in the near future.

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