The ITF, via the Grand Slam Development Fund, can assist National Associations by providing grants towards the establishment or improvement of National Tennis Centres in developing countries. Since 1984, close to 100 National Associations have taken advantage of the assistance available, either to construct a new facility, to renovate or to add roofing and lighting to the courts under their ownership or control. The grants for facilities awarded to countries are paid in instalments at the start, midway and at completion of the projects.
The ITF/GSDF facility grant represents a small percentage of the overall building cost; however the grant often acts as an endorsement and catalyst to enable associations to attract other funding whether from the government or private sector.
Recent success stories
Over the last few years a number of countries have been the beneficiaries of grants that have transformed tennis facilities in their nation, three such examples can be found below.
The Burundi Tennis Federation received a grant to help resurface eight tennis courts at their Club in Bujumbura which also opened as the East African ITF Training Centre in January 2011. Four of the courts were built in 2004 with the help of a GSDF grant and the Burundi Tennis Federation uses a further four courts contracted by the Entente Tennis Club. The fencing and lighting was also mounted on four courts during this extensive project. Additionally the GSDF grant helped to resurface a further two courts in Ngoyi where the Burundi Tennis Centre has a further three clubs.
In May 2011, Cape Verde was awarded a facility grant to resurface four courts on their two Islands: Santiago and Sao Vicente. The project of resurfacing two courts on Santiago Island was quick and completed within three months.
Later on in the year it was decided that the Sao Vicente Island project would be expanded due to an increase in funds available in Cape Verde - two courts were resurfaced, a new full size court built and an additional mini-court too. In October 2011, there were a few minor delays due to very heavy rain; however the development was back on track in no time.
By December 2011, The President of the Federacão Cabo Verdiana de Tenis, Carlos Pereira dos Santos, organised the opening on Sao Vicente Island with the presence of the Sport and Education Minister and General Sport Director.
President Carlos Pereira has been a pleasure to work with and is very thankful to the ITF for the GSDF contribution.
The National Tennis Centre in El Salvador comprises 13 hard courts hosting a wide range of events from Junior ITF tournaments, ITF Team Competitions, to Junior Fed Cup and Davis Cup, taking an important role in the COTECC region where the El Salvador Federation and COTECC offices are based.
Unfortunately Hurricane Stan in 2005 caused major damage to the courts and halted activity at the centre. In February 2011, The Federacion Salvadoreña de Tenis was awarded a GSDF grant to compliment the previous grants awarded in the past and the government provided vast support to reconstruct eight of the 13 courts.
This centre was close to not being able to host the international competitions due to the bad conditions of the court’s surface, and now, it is always busy with training and tournaments.
President of the Federation, Enrique Molins described the grant as ‘the rebirth of the Tennis Centre’ and Mr Molins also expressed: "The ITF’s constant support assists the Federation to keep on working hard towards tennis development."