Sporting Life

ANZ Junior Tennis - First in China

Sporting Life - January 2015

Growing the sport of tennis through grassroots junior program

ANZ is gearing up for this year’s Shanghai Rolex Masters as part of our five-year Diamond sponsorship. A cornerstone for tennis in China, the event is set to attract some of the world’s finest men’s singles and doubles players in their final leg of a three-week ATP tour of Asia.  The Shanghai Rolex Masters is regarded as a flagship tournament in Asia,and compliments our existing  partnership with the Australian Open, the Grand Slam of the Asia Pacific. The event has been running for 13 years and is the only ATP Masters 1000 event in Asia, played annually on outdoor hardcourts at Qi Zhong Stadium in Shanghai. Fifty-six international players will prepare to slug it out from October 11th to October 18th this year.

As part of our commitment to tennis, ANZ has developed ANZ Junior Tennis program, in conjunction with Shanghai Juss and Sport for All. This program began in May 2013 provides over 500 public school children access to a 36-week long tennis clinic or an equivalent of 1,000 hours of coaching.

Ranging between the ages of 6 to 12, the tennis clinics feature mini tennis courts equipped with child-friendly racquets and slow-moving, oversized tennis balls to give our pint-sized players a better chance of hitting the ball and keeping their interest.

 

"With that in mind ANZ Junior Tennis was born and now we are seeing it in practice which makes all of us very proud.” 

“Historically in China, much of the focus for a child’s development has been on academics rather than sport. This meant that only the children that demonstrated sporting potential at school were given opportunities to develop as professional sportsmen and women. There’s been little focus on the recreational side for kids that just want to have fun or learn a new skill,” said Charles Smith, ATP board member and managing director of Shanghai Juss, the tournament organisers.

Despite this, tennis is a rapidly growing sport in China and has become one of the most watched sports on television. Over the past few years, there has been a rising awareness about the value of sport for kids, particularly as a way to supplement education and enhance learning skills.“The fact that administrators are starting to understand the importance of sport in a child’s life and development, we felt the opportunity was there to bring tennis to some public schools in Shanghai,” said Michael Luevano, Tournament Director, Shanghai Rolex Masters.

“When ANZ came on board as our Diamond sponsor they wanted to be in a position that also contributed to the expansion of tennis in China. With that in mind ANZ Junior Tennis was born and now we are seeing it in practice which makes all of us very proud.” he said.

ANZ Junior Tennis will run year round, with plans to expand to more schools and children in the coming years.