#TennisAid Uganda

Enjoy part 2 of this series of posts about charity project #TennisAid:

The origin of the project was totally casual and spontaneous. Out of habit, I record my tennis lessons, especially with younger players, I edit the videos, add some music and try to give them an original format. This constant search for innovation pushed me to make a video of mini-tennis, but this time not only with pictures of my students, I thought I could show how to work with kids around the world.

I started contacting by mail or Facebook coaches I knew or coaches who work with young children. My request was clear and simple: to record about 15 minutes of their tennis lesson, and send it to me, either by mail, Whatsapp or any other mean. That’s how a work of about 5 months started.
Several people people answered me immediately. Others asked me time because their schools were on holidays. After 3 months, less than 20% had answered me.

Finally, in September 2014, and with over 30 countries represented, I managed to finish the “We love Mini” video. Clubs with good infrastructures and a clear organization, or overcrowded classes and coaches who work more with their will and vocation than with equipments: contrasts are obvious. Take the case of Victoria Tennis in Kenya: one coach on a court with about 40 students, throwing balls by hand. A beautiful chaos. In the video, you can see images of countries such as Zimbabwe, Germany, Nigeria, USA, Yemen, Argentina, Mexico, Estonia, Brazil and Egypt.

One of the fastest coaches to answer to my request was Vince Mowereza, from the city of Kampala, capital of Uganda. He is dedicated to promote tennis in schools with the help of his friend Julius Kyobe. They work for free, just to spread the sport.
He told me he was looking with envy at the amount of equipment I have to work kids’ psycho-motor skills, and he had absolutely no way to get that equipment in his town.
My first thought was that I could buy a few mini-tennis balls of all sizes and pressures and send them by mail. Then I thought I could also send a few racquets.

I talked about it with my friend and club-mate Abel Rincon, who spontaneously said: “What if we go there and bring him the equipment instead of sending it?” We looked at each other an started laughing. Because right there we realized that the trip would become reality and that we would end up going to Africa to donate sports equipment.

We knew that we were embarking on a great adventure. What we did not know is the magnitude it would reach.

Also read:
#TennisAid Uganda: the story of Martin Rocca
#TennisAid Uganda: the funding
#TennisAid: the arrival in Uganda
#TennisAid Uganda: the Ntinda School for the Deaf
#TennisAid: the second day in Uganda – the Shimoni Primary School
#TennisAid third day in Uganda
#TennisAid fourth day in Uganda

Follow Martin on Twitter and Instagram.

Kyrgios and Raonic, Wimbledon 2015

A battle of two players with the same assets: weak backhand and footwork, strong forehand and serve. The spectacular but controversial Australian beat Milos Raonic 5-7 7-5 7-6 6-3. For Kyrgios it is a “little bit of revenge” after Raonic beat him in the quarter-finals here last year. It is Kyrgios’s third win against a player ranked in the top 10, after his wins over Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon in 2014 and Roger Federer in Madrid last May.

Kyrgios vs Raonic

Kyrgios vs Raonic

Kyrgios vs Raonic

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Raonic stars in New Balance commercial

New Balance is in beta mode. New Balance debuted a new brand platform – Always in Beta – the brand’s “promise to relentlessly improve, to never stop pushing and to always strive for more.”
The company’s marketing message centers on the brand’s intent to improve upon the products created in its 100-year-plus history.

That theme will be played out in a new television commercial called The Storm, that follows a young woman pushing through her limits with the help of other athletes, among them tennis players Milos Raonic, Heather Watson and Nicole Gibbs.

It is New Balance’s first global campaign, “an attempt to become a truly international, multisport athletic brand like its rival with the Swoosh.”
While “long known for running shoes and casual footwear”, New Balance has recently branched out into football, baseball, tennis and cricket. New Balance CEO Rob DeMartini said,

“It’s an effort to position our brand up against the biggest in our category in footwear, apparel and accessories and in multiple sports.”

Also read:
Milos Raonic Wimbledon outfit
New Balance signs Heather Watson
New Balance press day: SS15 collection

Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams are among 13 athletes featured in Nike’s new “Find your Fast” campaign.

Nike’s “Find Your Fast” campaign brings together some of the planet’s beacons of speed to inspire athletes to run or train for their fastest time this summer. Whether preparing for a first mile or looking to shave seconds or minutes off a personal record, all athletes can get faster.

“Fast in tennis means always being in the point. No matter what an opponent sends my way I can get it. Because you can’t hit what you can’t reach!” – Serena Williams

Serena Williams, Find your fast campaign

“Being fast in tennis is everything. If I’m quicker to the ball I’m in greater control and I can exert my will on the match and the opponent. Fast wins matches. I want everything about me on court to be fast.” – Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal, Find your fast campaign

More Nike news.

Serena Williams NikeCourt Flare shoe

Engineered specifically for Serena Williams, the NikeCourt Flare delivers stability through a lightweight, minimal design. The shoe, designed by Aaron Cooper at Nike, was created in response to Serena’s ankle issues.

“At the time, I was having issues rolling my ankle,” Williams says. “So I wanted to create a shoe that would give me a lot of stability and make me a better player.”

According to Cooper, the silhouette was inspired by the collection of KOBE signature shoes, kung fu masters and the idea of footwear being an extension of the body.

“Serena was looking for a shoe with more stability that was bigger and more built up,” Cooper says. “What she actually needed was the complete opposite; something that was less built up and with a lower profile. She needed something that would really work with her as a second skin.”

NikeCourt Flare shoe

NikeCourt Flare shoe

The NikeCourt flare will be Serena Williams’ tennis shoe for Wimbledon.

“This shoe really is an extension of my foot,” Williams says. “And when you think about it, if you’re at home in your house and you don’t have shoes on, you just don’t think about anything else. It’s just your body. And that’s what this shoe is all about.”

Serena Williams NikeCourt Flare shoes

Learn more about the design process:

The NikeCourt Flare, a women’s only model, is now available in select Nike retailers and on nike.com/nikecourt.

Henman disqualified at Wimbledon

From Alan Mills’ autobiography, Lifting the covers: (Alan Mills was Wimbledon tournament referee from 1982 to 2005).

There were three major incidents that year, all of them utterly extraordinary, dramatic and traumatic in their own way. The first involved a young Tim Henman, then playing in only his second Wimbledon. I had known Tim since he was a young teenager when I was refereeing junior tournaments in Surrey. Although he was largely unknown to the British public at this time, he was a player of outstanding promise and those who had watched his development, with the help of Jim Slater and David Lloyd, were convinced that Britain had finally managed to produce a player of truly world-class potential – the best since Perry, many claimed. In my association with him up to that time, I had found Henman to be impeccably courteous, even-tempered and good-natured character – the last person on a tennis court you would expect to have to throw the book at for a breach of the rules.

Henman, who had lost in the second round of the singles to the defending champion Sampras in straight sets earlier in the day, was involved in a doubles match out on Court 14, now situated outside the new broadcasters’ complex between Centre Court and the new Court 1. He was partnering his fellow Britton Jeremy Bates against Swede Henrik Holm and a live-wire character called Jeff Tarango who I would get to know all too well by the end of that fortnight.
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