Ellina Mhlanga Sports Reporter
THERE is light at the end of the tunnel for professional and junior tennis players as they are set to receive grants from the International Tennis Federation.
Southern African countries had a meeting recently, focusing on the resumption of tennis, where countries gave updates on whether they have resumed their activities or when they are going to restart.
They also discussed the possibilities of getting grants from the ITF that will benefit, not just professional players, but also juniors and coaches.
Tennis Zimbabwe manager, Cliff Nhokwara, said they have to apply for grants from the ITF on behalf of junior players and coaches.
“The regional meeting on Tuesday was focusing on resumption of tennis,’’ he said.
‘’Obviously, each country was giving an update on when they resumed or when they are likely to resume.
“We also spoke of possibilities of grants from International Tennis Federation to benefit coaches in the sense of coaching programmes in the country.
‘’And, also, grants for players – junior players, who are likely to be travelling in Zimbabwe and outside Zimbabwe, training grants and travelling grants.
“Grants for our professional players, pretty much those who are in the Davis Cup.
“Unfortunately we don’t have anyone who is in the Fed Cup but mostly in the Davis Cup competition. They have to apply for grants from the ITF.
“Same goes for the junior players, we have to apply on their behalf to ITF and same goes for the coaches, we have to apply for grants again.’’
Nhokwara said for the juniors, they are going to consider top players and the international federation will start receiving applications in July.
“There is no stipulated criteria but, obviously, it has to be a top junior. It has to be somebody who plays international events, who has won something.
“Obviously, if we say anyone then there will be a billion applications, I believe ITF does not have the capacity to pay all that.
“Beginning of July, we will have a proper direction of where we are going, that’s when they will start receiving applications,” said Nhokwara.
TZ commenced their activities last week and players are now training at various Sports Clubs under strict restrictions as part of efforts to prevent the spread of Covid-19.