The 2019 Tennis Europe Coaches Conference took place last week in Minsk, where it was hosted for the first time by the Belarus Tennis Federation.
This year’s event was the 11th edition of the ‘Specific Theme Conference’, a biennial two-day meeting focusing on a particular topic. For this edition, Tennis Europe chose the issue of ‘National Training Centres.’
The host federation was able to showcase the facilities at its new National Tennis Academy, which is one of the driving factors behind Belarus’ many recent successes on the junior and professional circuits.
The meeting itself was opened by Tennis Europe's Professional Tennis Committee Chair Allar Hint and saw Dermot Sweeney of the International Tennis Federation present an overview of the ITF’s National Training Centre and Facility Programme, as well as a selection of best practices and national showcases from around Europe. The Programme encourages member nations to apply for funding to maintain or extend national training centres, with the aim of increasing facilities and encouraging participation.
Also among the line-up of expert speakers were Carl Maes, coach to former world #1 Kim Clijsters and current Director of the Clijsters Academy, renowned coaches Cyril Genevois (FRA), Garry Cahill (IRL), Piotr Unierzyski (POL) and Demetris Herodotou (CYP), plus ITF Development Officer for Europe Vitor Cabral. Cahill and Herodotou were joined by Portuguese Davis Cup Captain Rui Machado during the Nations Showcase.
Mr. Cabral commented, “The Specific Theme Conference is a great opportunity to connect with delegates from the federations about very precise topics. In devising the programme, we were also keen to touch areas in which we have development projects. The National Training Centre is a very interesting topic and I am particularly happy with the exchanges and discussions we had these two days. I speak on behalf of all the delegates when I say I was also very impressed with the facilities that the Belarus Tennis Federation provided us. We were able to visit a number of top-level venues that gave the conference a very high level of quality. I would like to thank Anton Yuspa and all the staff of the Belarus Tennis Federation and the Belarus NOC for their extraordinary support, and I hope that we achieved our goal of promoting tennis in the country”
Belarus Tennis Federation General Secretary Anton Yuspa said, “It has been an honour for us to host the Tennis Europe Coaches’ Conference. These were very productive, informative and useful days for the representatives from European tennis family in Minsk. The topic of National Training Centres is very important now due to the ITF recognition program currently taking place. I’m sure that we need to share experiences at such important international forums as this conference in order to move forward in the development of the European tennis. Once again thank you very much to the all participants, speakers and Tennis Europe for coming to Belarus and this opportunity to show our wonderful capital - Minsk in the time before the II European Games that will open the doors for the European Olympic family in the next month.”
The event was streamed live on YouTube [Day 1 | Day 2] by the host federation, and is still available for those wishing to catch up.