Johannesburg - South Africa’s Philip Henning is among the recipients of the International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) first-ever International Junior Player Grants.
Fifteen players from 13 countries have been selected to receive the first-ever ITF International Junior Player Grants.
The ITF on Friday announced that the new programme will provide total funding in 2018 of $325 000 (about R3.9 million) to selected players from around the world as a contribution towards their competition-related costs with the aim of helping them make the transition from the junior game to the professional circuit.
The ITF has awarded grants to players who meet specific age, ranking and regional representation criteria and show exceptional potential.
The following five boys will receive $25:000 (about R300 000): Nicolas Mejia (COL), Uisung Park (KOR), Jurij Rodionov (AUT), Emil Ruusuvuori (FIN) and Chun Hsin Tseng (TPE)
The following six girls will also receive $25 000 grants: Violet Apisah (PNG), Emiliana Arango (COL), Kaja Juvan (SLO), Sada Nahimana (BDI), Maria Gabriela Rivera Corado (GUA) and Wang Xinyu (CHN).
In addition, Henning, Nick Hardt (DOM), Maria Camila Osorio Serrano (COL) and Ajeet Rai (NZL) will all receive $12 500 (about R150 000) grants, meaning that at least one boy and one girl from each of the ITF’s six regions will receive a grant.
Henning, who hails from Bloemfontein, is ranked No 54 on the world junior rankings.
“What a bonus after winning my seventh international junior title in Pretoria on Saturday to hear I have been given this grant. I am most grateful to the ITF and Tennis South Africa for nominating me, it sure will help me a lot!” Henning said via a press statement.
Henning said he wanted to thank the ITF for having this type of programme to assist players such as himself who do not have access to the resources to be able to compete in the best tournaments in the region.
“The only way to improve is by playing the biggest and best tournaments around the world and this will be possible after receiving this type of support, it will motivate me to want to continue competing and working hard.
“This grant will help me enormously to improve so in the future I (can) become a successful professional player.”
ITF president David Haggerty also commented: “The ITF is committed to developing tennis throughout the world, and these grants will support some of the world’s best junior players from nations with fewer available resources. The transition from junior tennis to the professional game is a huge challenge and the Junior Player Grants are one of the many ways that the ITF is aiming to support talented young players to establish themselves on the circuit.”
The ITF’s Development Programme was first conceived in the late 1970s with the aim to help raise the level of tennis worldwide and increase the number of countries competing in mainstream international tennis.
Development remains a key priority for the ITF and is at the heart of the ITF’s long-term strategic plan, ITF 2024, which was announced in 2016.
The Development Programme is funded by the ITF and the Grand Slam nations (via the Grand Slam Development Fund).
In 2018 the total funding available for development is in excess of $10 million, with annual funding increased by $4 million since 2016.