Over 80 children were treated to an exciting day at the tennis today, as they participated in the Lacoste Special Needs Tennis Clinic. In partnership with Lacoste and the Clark Francis Tennis Academy, the clinic served up lessons, lunch, and a visit from top WTA players for children from Al Noor, Dubai Centre for Special Needs, Rashid Pediatric Centre, the Dubai Autism Centre and Manzil School.
The Lacoste Special Needs Clinic is specifically designed to offer a fun tennis experience for children with special needs, and they were delighted to be joined by WTA players Elena Vesnina and Arantxa Parra Santonja, who took to the court to lend a helping hand. They shared tennis tips and plenty of high-fives with the children, saying “It’s good fun to get out with the kids and see a smile on their faces, they’re great kids and it’s good to be here.”
Tournament mascots Ace and Annette also joined in the fun.
Sol Goodwin, a teacher at Dubai Centre for Special Needs commented “The children all love today, it is the one day that they get excited for every year. When we tell them it is the tennis day they all light up with smiles. The day is always well organized and enjoyable. Everyone had a chance to hit a ball and they all received a t-shirt and cap which they all wore while on the court. Looking forward to next year already.”
The children were delighted to be at the tennis, with one of them, Sheikha Al Kharbash from Dubai Center for Special Needs saying “Best part of the day was meeting a real player. Wow, she was super nice.”
Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman of Dubai Duty Free, said “It is wonderful to see these children enjoying the tennis and being part of the tournament. They have many challenges in life and it is great to see them having such a lovely time”.
Tournament Director, Salah Tahlak was delighted to see so many children enjoying the day. “Tennis is a sport that everyone can enjoy and we are happy to be able to offer this opportunity to be involved in the tournament to these wonderful young people. It is great to see them having so much fun”.
The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships WTA event continues until 21st February. Play then continues between 23rd and 28th February with the action-packed ATP tournament which stars world number one and Wimbledon and Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic, defending Dubai champion Roger Federer, Australian Open runner-up Andy Murray and two-time Dubai finalist Tomas Berdych.
The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships is owned and organised by Dubai Duty Free, and held under the patronage of H. H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Tickets for the event are available from the Box Office at the Dubai Tennis Stadium, Garhoud which opens from 9am to 9pm daily. Tickets are still available for every day of the women’s week, and start at just 75dhs for the first three days of play, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Tickets are also still available for the first three days of the men’s week. Grandstand tickets can also be bought online at http://www.timeouttickets.com/. For further information about tickets, prices and the tournament visit www.dubaidutyfreetennischampionships.com.