Home > Projects > More than Tennis > The protagonists
Children and Youth in the Days More than Tennis

MORE THAN TENNIS

The protagonists

Anatoliy

Beneficiary of the More than Tennis programme

"Although I do not do the things right, they support me and encourage me"

My name is Anatoliy, I am 17 years old and I am from Ukraine. Last year I joined to Special Olympics, even though I had never played sports. At school the kids played and I just looked at them. Here I am very happy because although I do not do the things right, nobody messes with me, but they support me and encourage me.

At first, when I played tennis, every time I hit the ball I threw it out of the court, but now I put them into it and I lose almost none. Furthermore, I get really well with my teammates and coaches. I am very happy to be part of the project and I want to continue in it.

Share:    Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Anatoliy, beneficiary of the More than Tennis programme of the Rafa Nadal Foundation

María Del Mar Muñoz Mora

More than Tennis coach in Mallorca

"Competition as a way of learning, improving and excelling"

With the program More than Tennis we pursue  to emphasize the promotion and improvement of the practice of tennis by the players at Special Olympics, the  promotion of the practice of sport among youngsters with intellectual disabilities and the transmission of values such as effort and overcoming.

During the sessions where we play tennis matches, the pupils act as referees which make them realise the importance of knowing the rules, respecting them and applying them correctly. We must not forget that our objective, apart from the educational and creative angles, is to show how enjoyable a healthy and fun competition can be, where the most important thing is to participate and have a good time. Besides, the possibility of acting as referees, allow our pupils to understand better this sport and to develop positive values and attitudes towards it.

Share:    Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
María Del Mar Muñoz Mora

Lourdes Marrero

Beneficiary of the More than Tennis programme

"Apart from physical exercise, she has had the opportunity to socialise with a group of great friends"

I’m Lourdes Marrero Fuster and I’m 29 years old.
I'm going to the tennis lessons with Maria del Mar, my coach, for the past year. I like the classes very much, I feel good, comfortable and relaxed and I continue to learn without nerves. I really like Maria del Mar because she is a good person and a very good instructor. She always supports us and she has a lot of patience. I worked hard and I have learned.
I have fun with my tennis friends; all of them do an effort. I would like to continue. Thank you for everything!

Lourdes Marrero Fuster

I am Montserrat Fuster, mother of Lourdes Marrero. I am very glad that Lourdes attends to the program More than Tennis. Apart from physical exercise, she has had the opportunity to socialise with a group of great friends. She loves and learns how to play tennis in a funny way.
Thank you for everything and we hope that the program will continue!

Montserrat Fuster

Share:    Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Lourdes Marrero

Alejandro Bonilla

Beneficiary of the More than Tennis programme in Madrid

"Tennis makes me happy because I have fun, and I like being with other classmates and to play better every day"

Alejandro Bonilla has been in the school for a year, and when we suggested doing an activity outside school he didn’t think twice about it: “I’d like to do tennis”. Eight months have now passed and as Alejandro himself says, “I’ve improved my right forehand. I’m almost as good as Federer now.”

He doesn’t only reflect on the physical activity though, but adds that tennis has brought him a lot more: “tennis makes me happy because I have fun with Gonzalo (his tennis coach), and I like being with other classmates and to play better every day.”

Over these past eight months Alejandro has managed to stay behind one evening a week to practice the sport; he has been able to improve his focus and concentration, to respect the turn of his companions and, in short, he feels integrated and part of a shared activity.

“What I like the most”, repeats Alejandro, “is to have a laugh playing tennis” – undoubtedly the best reason to continue with the More than Tennis programme.

Share:    Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Alejandro Bonilla and his companions

Álvaro García

Beneficiary of the More than Tennis programme in Madrid

"I’m good at all the shots, but the backhand is my favourite"

Álvaro has been at the school for four years now and has always done a variety of different sports activities. However, this is his first year playing tennis at the school, and he admits it’s been a good experience. “I have a good time with my tennis coach and classmates I didn’t know before”, he explains. When asked about what his favourite shot is, Álvaro says he likes them all: “I’m good at all the shots, but the backhand is my favourite.”

Álvaro is one of the sportspersons who has been there since the beginning. He practices four hours a week and says he never gets bored: “every day we play different games with Sergio, and the training session is non-stop. When I arrive home I collapse into the armchair and put on the TV. I just want to rest!”

The experience has been very rewarding for Álvaro, from both a personal perspective, through his classmates and teachers, and a sports perspective, through improving his fitness and concentration. It’s an experience Álvaro will surely repeat: “I’m definitely going to sign up next year.”

Share:    Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Álvaro García

Rafael Fernández Gordillo

Tennis Coach, Special Olympics Andalucía

"It’s not about teaching sport, but about the students’ psychosocial and psychomotor development through sport"

What personal and professional experience has brought you to where you are today?
I was a volunteer from 1998 to 2000 with the Special Olympics Andalucía schools and I’ve been their tennis coach since 2008. My work with disabled people is what led me to participate in the More than Tennis programme.

How long have you been with the programme?
This is my second season in the Rafa Nadal Foundation’s More than Tennis project.

Read more

What personal and professional experience has brought you to where you are today?
I was a volunteer from 1998 to 2000 with the Special Olympics Andalucía schools and I’ve been their tennis coach since 2008. My work with disabled people is what led me to participate in the More than Tennis programme.

How long have you been with the programme?
This is my second season in the Rafa Nadal Foundation’s More than Tennis project.

Has participation in the project changed you or brought you anything?
It hasn’t really changed me as such, as the work is the same as that I do with the Special Olympics Andalucía tennis school, but it has certainly brought me a lot, in that it’s very rewarding to see the students progress in a sport that is complicated for people with disabilities, and to see their determination and how they try to better themselves in spite of their difficulties.

What has your experience brought to the programme?
I think it has brought a lot because, even though you might know a lot about sport, working with disabled people is complicated so you must know their problems, their behaviour, their reactions, etc. to be able to find the best way of doing things. These kinds of schools are not about teaching sport, but about the students’ psychosocial and psychomotor development through sport. Over the 12 years I’ve been working with disabled sportspersons I think they are important in helping me to do my work better.

What would you like to achieve?
The first and most important thing is that my students enjoy playing this sport. Then, what I would like is for them to acquire the basic skills so that they can play tennis with other people in an acceptable way, that they can play a tennis match with their friends, for example. And lastly, but no less important, I would like to see the sport promoted among this type of people, as sports involving equipment are rarely practiced by disabled people.

Would you like to tell us about your experience with any beneficiary (adult or child) in the programme which is particularly important to you?
We have two autistic brothers here, and it’s a real challenge working with them because of the difficulty in communicating with these sportspersons. Fortunately, they are both highly motivated and it makes everybody really happy (family, peers, monitors, etc.) to see how much they enjoy their classes.

Short version
Share:    Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Rafael Fernández youth coaching Special Olympics

Belén Casado

"This is the most wonderful opportunity of my life!"

I’m Belén, I’m 29 years old and I love sports.

I had never played tennis, yes I had played table tennis and that’s why when Asun asked me if I would like to train, I was very thrilled because it was another challenge and, when I found out that it belonged to the Rafa Nadal Foundation... well, I don’t know how to explain it. It was so exciting, the most wonderful opportunity of my life!!!

At home we all love Rafa and we see nearly all his matches, he’s brilliant. What’s more, my coach, Cuca, is fantastic and understanding and she makes every shot, she’s very good.

Then, my team-mates are also very nice, really super, we have a good atmosphere, like good friends, but we train hard because we love doing it.

I hope to compete one day with other players from other cities, but the best thing is to practice and do sports and, if possible, get to know Rafa... that would be the mega best thing of all.

We are Felix and Teresa, Belén’s parents. We must admit that since she has been doing tennis training she has regained that joy and enthusiasm of her first years with Special; it has been like a new objective, a new goal.

We must confess that to begin with, we thought that Belén would not have the patience, but we were wrong: we are very happy because she is full of enthusiasm and committed with her training and is very much at home with her team-mates.

Her sisters, Teresa and Pilar also take part in her dreams and projects and Belén talks to them and tells them all about this new challenge for her. They are very proud of all that she has achieved and all that still remains to be achieved.

Once more, many thanks to Special Olympics and many thanks to the Rafa Nadal Foundation.

Read more

I’m Belén, I’m 29 years old and I love sports.

I had never played tennis, yes I had played table tennis and that’s why when Asun asked me if I would like to train, I was very thrilled because it was another challenge and, when I found out that it belonged to the Rafa Nadal Foundation... well, I don’t know how to explain it. It was so exciting, the most wonderful opportunity of my life!!!

At home we all love Rafa and we see nearly all his matches, he’s brilliant. What’s more, my coach, Cuca, is fantastic and understanding and she makes every shot, she’s very good.

Then, my team-mates are also very nice, really super, we have a good atmosphere, like good friends, but we train hard because we love doing it.

I hope to compete one day with other players from other cities, but the best thing is to practice and do sports and, if possible, get to know Rafa... that would be the mega best thing of all.

We are Felix and Teresa, Belén’s parents. We must admit that since she has been doing tennis training she has regained that joy and enthusiasm of her first years with Special; it has been like a new objective, a new goal.

We must confess that to begin with, we thought that Belén would not have the patience, but we were wrong: we are very happy because she is full of enthusiasm and committed with her training and is very much at home with her team-mates.

Her sisters, Teresa and Pilar also take part in her dreams and projects and Belén talks to them and tells them all about this new challenge for her. They are very proud of all that she has achieved and all that still remains to be achieved.

Once more, many thanks to Special Olympics and many thanks to the Rafa Nadal Foundation.

Short version
Share:    Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Belén Casado
Cookie policy

We use our own and third-party cookies to improve our services and to show you ads that are relevant to your preferences by analysing your browsing habits.

If you continue browsing, we will assume that you consent to their use. You can change the configuration or get more information here.