If the sport of tennis was a hobby for the rich class back in the past, today it’s a worldwide sensation. Youngsters from all continents play on the same level and the ATP and WTA rang list is filled with people of all nations, religion, and colors.
Even though sport, in general, is more developed in Europe and North America, lately other continents are producing excellent professional athletes as well. Same goes for tennis where the game is moving forward at tremendous speed and many young people are very interested in it. These young athletes don’t lack motivation and talent, but they need better coaching and, of course, more tournaments.
At the moment, the most popular African tennis tournaments happen in Tunisia and Morocco, but there are plenty of other tournaments for younger categories which is something that makes a promise that future for the tennis in Africa is safe.
Grand Prix Hassan II, Casablanca, Morocco
The biggest tournament in Africa is the Grand Prix Hassan II in Casablanca, Morocco. The event is happening annually and the game is played on clay. The prize money is $450.000 which is the highest amount of all African tournaments.
Lots of famous players played and won the tournament. Some of them are retired and some of them still play. Names like Tommy Robredo who won in 2013, or Stanislas Wawrinka who lifted the trophy back in 2010. Here also played Juan Carlos Ferrero, Gilles Simon, Sebastien Grosjean, and the best ranked African player, Kevin Anderson from the South African Republic who is ranked as number 8 on the ATP list.
Tunis Open, Tunis, Tunisia
The second largest tournament is happening in Tunis. On red clay, players compete for the prize of $125.000. This is a challenger tournament and the most popular player that was a part of the tournament is Gael Monfils from France who won the trophy back in 2005 against the also famous Fabrice Santoro. The tournament is held annually from 2005.
The biggest women’s tournament in Africa is happening in Rabat, Morocco. It is also called Grand Prix de Sar la Princesse Lalla Meryem and over the years it was held in different cities around the country. It was founded in 2001 and was held in Casablanca, but then it moved to Rabat, Fes, Marrakesh and then back again in Rabat where it is held from 2016 until today.
The prize money is $226.750 and some of the most famous female players that attended this tournament are Francesca Schiavone from Italy who won the tournament in 2013 and the actual WTA No.1 Simona Halep from Romania who was a runner-up twice but never won the Morocco open. She was second twice in a row in 2010 and 2011.
Africa has lots of tennis tournaments for professionals, but more important, there are lots of tournaments for the young categories, like U14 and even U12 held almost every month in a different country. This is an excellent opportunity for young talents to chase and eventually achieve their dream in becoming the next Djokovic who came from a small and relatively unknown tennis country and placed it immediately on the map of tennis giants.
Tennis and sport in general are important for the development of every nation and in this case, for the whole continent because healthy kids mean healthy nation. People who are involved in sport is proven to live longer and have a better life.
Since it’s almost 2020 and money is very important to everyone, the sport is also a way to become a national hero and a global star. There are lots of examples of world-famous athletes that earned lots of money and then came back to their place of birth to invest and help the people they used to grow up with. They are known as heroes and their example should be followed by everyone.
It’s very important to chase our dream no matter if it’s tennis, some other sport, or something else not connected with sports at all. But it is more important to remember our origin and always give back to the community.