The fourth edition of Vanguard Stars sub10 and sub11 from 2021 will take place this weekend, on the 25th and 26th of September, in Vilamoura. The championship will take place at Vilamoura Tennis & Padel Academy and will be attended by more than 150 athletes.
As Tatyana Bezukladnikova, general director of Vanguard Stars and mentor of this circuit explained, in an interview with JE, this Vanguard Stars circuit has as its main objective the promotion of sports competition and the practice of tennis in younger generations.
This is a circuit with an unusual level of demand and quality at the basic levels, which aims to contribute to the development of physical and mental endurance, focus, and leadership of these young tennis players.
How does your relationship with tennis come about?
Since I was a little girl, I was a practitioner of another sport: basketball. However, I never reached a high level regarding the practice of this modality. When I met my husband, who was a sponsor of previous editions of the Estoril Open, I also fell in love with the sport he practiced: tennis. The more I got involved in this modality, the more I came to love this experience. I trained a lot and tried to get to know this sport as much as possible; I always wanted to improve. I started in tennis at a social level, moved on to competition tennis and as a mother, I made a point of putting my son (now 11 years old) on the route of this sport. My son loves to play tennis, trains a lot and is betting on this sport for his future. Wants to be a professional player.
And the idea of promoting the practice with the youngest, which even included the creation of a circuit just for under-10 and under-11?
When my son was about 5 or 6 years old, I think about this possibility. In Portugal, we have a circuit called SmashTour, competitions dedicated to the little ones for levels from U-7 to U-10 and where Portugal is a dominant country at European level in this type of tournament. This competition is based on a ‘play and stay’ basis (which consists of a teaching and learning development methodology developed by the International Tennis Federation). As I already knew some tennis academies in the world, and our son was present on this circuit, we suggested that we could further improve the quality of the tournaments, involve parents and children in this experience and make a first approach to international competition to give them an idea of what are this type of tournament, but in a weekend model, which end up being more practical for parents, since the other circuits last a week and there is not so much availability.
How much does it cost to put such an event up and running?
The annual budget for the organization of the Vanguard Stars 2021 International Circuit is 200,000 euros. This year we will have two tournaments in Spain (Madrid and Seville), where our main team will be, around twenty people, who also guarantee the entire filming component of the games.
Do you have a sponsor?
We don’t have sponsors. Our policy is to keep the circuit only associated with Vanguard Properties which is our main sponsor.
What does tennis have to offer on this return?
It is true! All modalities were affected by the pandemic, at all levels. We now bet on an even greater willingness of practitioners to return to training with even more intensity. During this break, we organized what we consider very important so that all children, parents and coaches, could speak with emblematic personalities of national and international tennis. What we feel is that many practitioners tried not to stop and made an effort to keep practicing the sport. Whoever started again, did it with enormous desire.
How is the love for Portuguese children’s tennis?
In Portugal we have a lot of quality, we have many children working hard in tennis. We have players playing very well and coaches doing a very good job at this level. They know that today they can leave the country, play with other children, something that helps a lot in the development of the sport. We have national champions and that makes us very proud.
How many nationalities will compete in this weekend’s Vilamoura Tournament?
We will have 70 Spanish children, many practitioners from Portugal, two children from Italy, one British and one from Croatia. We have good results and good feedback so this event will continue.