RIYADH: Newly appointed Saudi Tennis Federation (STF) ambassador Rafa Nadal is ready to deliver his distinctive model of inspiration to the Saudi tennis scene.
The brand new function is introduced following a current shock go to to a junior tennis clinic in Riyadh hosted by the STF and can see the Spanish famous person spend time within the Kingdom annually to assist nurture and plan the event of girls and boys within the sport in addition to develop additional curiosity in tennis among the many nation’s younger inhabitants.
Past encouraging the expansion of the game general, plans are additionally being put in place to develop a brand new Rafa Nadal Academy to nurture expertise and function a middle of excellence to assist aspiring gamers fulfill their tennis goals.
Nadal, who has gained 22 Grand Slam males’s singles titles to this point, is ready to help tennis in one of many quickest rising nations on this planet, with sport turning into an more and more necessary a part of day by day life, particularly for the Kingdom’s 20 million folks aged underneath 30 years outdated.
Talking on his new function as an envoy to the Saudi Tennis Federation, Nadal mentioned; “In all places you look in Saudi Arabia, you may see progress and progress and I’m excited to be a part of that. I proceed to play tennis as I really like the sport. However past taking part in I wish to assist the game develop far and broad the world over and in Saudi there may be actual potential. The children right here as we speak wish to the long run and have an actual ardour for all sports activities. If I may help them decide up a racquet or just get match and luxuriate in the advantages of wholesome dwelling, then I’ll be glad to have made a distinction.”
Underneath Imaginative and prescient 2030, sports activities participation throughout women and men in Saudi Arabia has quickly elevated and is now near 50 %, greater than tripling since 2015. The variety of sporting federations have additionally tripled throughout this time with the STA an ideal instance of the expansion story underway.
Nadal will look to speed up the momentum which has been constructing throughout all the tennis ecosystem from the grassroots up. In 2023 an estimated 30,000 college youngsters took their first steps in tennis because of the ‘Tennis For All’ program, a novel partnership between the STF and Saudi Sports activities For All Federation, which noticed tennis launched to the bodily schooling curriculum in 90 faculties. Future plans are already in place to roll this system out in 200 faculties in 2024 and 400 in 2025.
As we speak Saudi Arabia is house to 177 tennis golf equipment, up 146 % since 2019. Within the final 4 years, the variety of registered gamers has elevated by 46 % to 2,300 and under-14 gamers by 100% — from 500 to +1,000. STF additionally now holds 40 nationwide tournaments yearly — together with internet hosting three ITF Juniors tournaments previously yr.
Saudi Tennis Federation President, Arij Almutabagani, added: “Rafa embodies all of the values we maintain pricey in a real champion on and off the courtroom. He’s merely the perfect function mannequin for our younger girls and boys to look as much as. It’s clear Rafa lives one of the best model of himself each single day. His dedication to coaching, his dedication to each shot and the best way he fights for each level are values we hope to instill in our personal future stars. Not simply to develop them as gamers however as folks.
“Rafa transcends the game of tennis and continues to encourage generations around the globe. I’ve little question he can have the identical impression on Saudi. We really feel blessed to name him our ambassador and our younger gamers can’t wait to work with him!”
Nadal and his teaching crew are additionally set to develop a program of values to encourage ‘Workforce Saudi’, the nationwide groups who characterize the Saudi Olympic & Paralympic Committees in worldwide tournaments and can share their data with all gamers and their coaches.
Underneath Imaginative and prescient 2030, Saudi Arabia’s ongoing social and financial transformation, the nation has develop into a welcoming host for a few of the greatest international sports activities occasions. Since 2018 the Kingdom has staged over 85 worldwide occasions for each female and male athletes together with soccer, motorsports, tennis, equestrian, esports and golf, attended by over 2.6 million sports activities followers.
The newest addition, the Subsequent Gen ATP Finals indicators the nation’s intent to make tennis a significant a part of its worldwide calendar and is the primary of many doubtless skilled tennis tournaments to be held within the nation, with Nadal now dedicated to supporting future occasions in an ambassadorial function.
Almutabagani, continued: “Sure, we wish to host the world’s greatest to encourage and assist our younger folks fall in love with the sport. However trying forward in the future we additionally wish to play alongside and compete towards the world’s greatest female and male gamers. We all know it’s an extended journey forward however we’re investing in our youngsters and dedicated for the long-term. And hopefully with Rafa’s help we’ll go alongside that journey a bit of bit sooner and as a match and wholesome nation.”