Chicago youngsters given once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play tennis with Novak Djokovic
Over sixty lucky Chicago youngsters played tennis yesterday afternoon with one of the world’s all-time greats as part of a tennis clinic with Novak Djokovic.
The children, aged 6-12, spent around 40 minutes playing tennis with their hero at the XS Tennis Village on the south-side of Chicago, in a bid to hone their fledgling tennis skills.
Around half of the children were from the XS Tennis & Education Foundation, a non-profit on Chicago’s south-side that seeks to help local youth pursue their dreams of a college scholarship through tennis, with the remainder from Chicago’s local Serbian community.
In addition to playing tennis with the youngsters, Novak delivered a short speech on his experience rising to the very top of the game, signing autographs for all of those involved.
“The most important thing in life is to love what you do and never forget that you are never alone,” Djokovic told the children.
The kids’ clinic organised by XS Tennis and the Novak Djokovic Foundation had a goal to inspire more young people from a diverse range of backgrounds to follow their dreams and pursue sporting excellence. This was key to Novak’s development growing up in Serbia – stating on national television aged just 12 that he would one day become tennis world number one.
Novak is keen to pass on this mantra of self-belief and to encourage young people to make the most of their lives both on and off the court.
In 2007, he launched The Novak Djokovic Foundation, a global organization that champions and invests in early childhood education primarily in Serbia, a country where only one in two children has access to pre-school education.
Since then, the Foundation impacted lives of 20,000 children, retrained 1,600 teachers, supported 1,000 families and rebuilt or repurposed 40 schools, in a bid to achieve this goal.
The XS Tennis and Education Foundation mission is to provide Chicago’s underserved youth with an enriching safe-haven and positive academic/athletic pathway to college through community-based sports and academic enrichment program. Over the coming years, XSTEF’s Mission is to introduce as many Chicago youth as possible to XSTEF’s program on the pathway to college, graduate school, and successful futures.