Ten years of tennis for development in India

Ten years ago, tennis player Rafa Nadal started the NETS School (Nadal Educational Tennis School) in Anantapur (India) in cooperation with Vicente Ferrer Foundation, and this was the first project of his organization. From then on, tennis at this school has become a vehicle to promote social integration, personal growth and equality among the more than 250 kids who attend the center each year.

“It appeared that tennis had no place in a rural and impoverished area like Anantapur, and many doubted that this sport could be a tool for change and empowerment for these kids. Over time, it has been shown that it’s just the opposite: they play on equal terms, have fun and share with others, work hard to improve… and this always has a positive impact”, says Rafa Nadal.

Moncho Ferrer, Program Director of Vicente Ferrer Foundation, is also celebrating these ten years of the project affirming that “NETS sports program has proved to be a powerful tool for social integration as well. NETS center is now a place that enhances great values for which we strive from VFF, such as teamwork, equality and respect. Anantapur’s young people now have a better education and self-esteem and, mainly, they are enjoying and sharing their achievements, boys and girls together”.

Center activities in the time of the pandemic
Currently, all activities in the center have been interrupted due to the critical situation in the country since the beginning of the pandemic. India is now the second most affected country by the disease, only after the United States.

During this time, NETS professional team (coaches, teachers and assistants) has continuously been involved and in contact with the families and the kids who attend the school, “so we can ensure they are fine and that the most deprived families have the basic needs covered”, explains Vishal Vijayakumar, center coordinator. Additionally, NETS staff has joined the emergency tasks for the COVID-19 crisis, such as food distribution, to alleviate the food shortage that was taking place during the confinement.

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