Former Spanish professional tennis player Maria Llorca Pons has urged local sport bodies to increase the number of professional tennis schools in the country.
The Francistown School of Tennis is the only professional setup in Botswana, the school has its own premises, staff and tennis scholarship programs in place for top performing youngsters. The tennis school brought Pons to Botswana for a six week training program that started in November last year to expose youngsters to high level coaching as well as to develop local coaches.
She urged private companies and sport bodies to double their efforts and improve the number of schools dedicated to the production of top level tennis athletes. Pons, who resides in the Spanish city of Valencia, highlighted that there are close to 100 professional tennis schools in her city compared to only one school in the whole of Botswana.
“There are a lot of talented players in this country, their physical strength is amazing as well as their running ability. I even joked with one of them that they should also participate in athletics because of their speed. More schools need to be available to increase the possibility of producing top players. The Francistown School of Tennis is exceptional, it is doing an incredible job but there should be more schools,” the Spaniard recently told this publication.
Pons added that the schools in Spain are solely dedicated to having more tournaments for youngsters to participate in. “In Spain, a player participates in 200 tournaments in close to two years. I have been informed that in Botswana there are only three tournaments in a year, that has to improve as well. Young players should each have close to six hours of training to continue to improve as opposed to only practicing for an hour or two after school,” she concluded.