As Team World and Team Europe collided on the court in Vancouver earlier in September, more than 2,000 kids from across British Columbia had the opportunity to participate in some incredible programs on-site, including several appearances by tennis legend Roger Federer.
Federer was on-site throughout the Laver Cup and participated in three different activations with nearly 100 kids. Firstly, as UNIQLO’s global brand ambassador, Federer led a coaching clinic with 30 of Tennis BC’s top junior players for their Next Gen Development Program.
Forty “Bigs” and “Littles” from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada took part in a tennis camp at University of British Columbia’s Tennis Club. Federer surprised the group, giving them tips and tricks while volleying with various Bigs and Littles across all the courts.
“It’s always a privilege to connect with young people through UNIQLO’s Next Generation Development Program,” said Federer. “I hope our event here in Vancouver will further refine the skills of all the excellent young players who attended. In addition, I hope it provides some inspiration for them to pursue and reach their full potential, whether in tennis, or in life.”
Lastly, ON running, a Swiss athletic shoe and sportswear company that Federer is a shareholder in, invited 20 teenagers to take part in a tour of Rogers Arena, which included a surprise visit from Federer.
As the Laver Cup got underway, 2,000 kids from local tennis programs and schools in Vancouver were invited to watch team practices ahead of the tournament. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity let them get the chance to get up close and personal with some of their favourite ATP stars as preparation got underway.
“All of the different participation programs that we saw on-site at the Laver Cup were incredible to see, and they’re so important to continuing the growth of tennis in Canada,” said Eva Havaris, Tennis Canada’s Vice-President of Tennis Participation and Partnerships. “Roger’s willingness to participate in so many programs is extremely appreciated. The influence he has on the next generation of tennis fans and players is immeasurable, and I’m sure all of the children that had the chance to meet him will never forget it.”
Finally, the turnout was incredibly high for the Laver Cup ball kid tryouts, as 400 children took part in the ball kid trials with hopes of securing their spot. Ultimately only 24 were able to be chosen for the honours. The ball kids had the opportunity to take part in a Q&A session with world No. 9 Casper Ruud and even got to pose for official photos with Canadian heroes Felix Auger-Aliassime and Milos Raonic.