A chat with the legends: John McEnroe, Justine Henin, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. And a few shots, yes a real workout, on the pitches that made tennis history. The Young Talent grows project is enriched with ever new and ever more important experiences. But most of all, it brings results. They are seen and those that are less conspicuous but even more significant.
The obvious ones are, for example, the conquest of the title of Summer Cup 2022, featuring Vito Darderi Protagonist along with Antonio Marigliano and Salvatore Tartaglione. We are talking about Under 14, but with all the precautions due to the young age, it is clear that the path is the right one. The least obvious is the behavior of the boys behind the scenes.
“Well – explains ISF Director Michelangelo Dell’Edera talking about the basic idea – Fit and BNL BNP Paribas have built a project that has been running for three seasons and is fundamental to educating children to 360 degrees. We are therefore not just talking about technical education, but also about mental, physical and educational education. In addition to the economic contribution, together with that of Fit, there is a common training process through national technical meetings. BNL BNP Paribas engages with professionals to educate children in all the activities they need to grow, not just as athletes. And with an important eye on social issues and inclusion, wheelchair tennis players are also involved ”.
During the last Roland Garros, BNP Paribas illustrated the international ambitions of their Young Talents teams, which support 150 young athletes in 6 countries. Justine Henin, representing Belgium, and Mariusz Fyrstenberg, representing Poland, witnessed two new teams, along with John McEnroe (Team USA), Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (Team France) and Tathiana Garbin (Team Italia), who brought some young Italians to Roland Garros to gain experience, opposite the visit of the French during the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, the Masters 1000 played in Rome last May in the Foro Italico. Since its inception in 2018, the initiative has helped talented young athletes on their path to professionalism by providing financial assistance and the right team to support them.
Not only that: BNP Paribas has also announced on this occasion the launch of a charity initiative: for each point raised by a member of the BNP Paribas Young Talents Teams and the professional ATP, WTA and wheelchair circuit, the BNP donates one euro to support projects for the inclusion of young people.
“It’s important – he explains John McEnroe – have a partner who has demonstrated a long-standing commitment to tennis, such as BNP Paribas, to make this type of program a reality. Together we want to make tennis as accessible as possible. My dream is that one day we will make a New York boy a Wimbledon, US Open or Roland-Garros champion. He rebukes him Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. “This program means a lot to me because it can help young people realize their dreams. It’s the kind of support I wanted when I was younger. Helping all these young people gives me an incredible boost. To me they are a bit like my family “.
Right to celebrate the results, therefore, as if Italy – always at Under 14 levels – had been crowned world champions. But behind Young Talent, there is another philosophy, perfectly in line with that of the Federation. “In this way – concludes Dell’Edera – the result is never an obsession, but it can be the final destination if the right things are done, if you play all 15 as you have to play, with the desire to build a path of growth. The eventual victory thus affects all elements of the Italian system. It is a victory of the beautiful game, which must be the guide for every boy who enters the world of competition.