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Tsonga's love game with Soweto

By unknown | Feb 05, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Linda Moreotsene

Linda Moreotsene

Since his arrival in South Africa last weekend, tennis superstar Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has mentioned his African blood often.

The world number seven who is playing in the South African Open at Montecasino made time to visit Soweto yesterday, something he said was quite special to him

Tsonga, in the presence of Gauteng MEC for sports, Barbara Creecy and SA Tennis chief executive Ian Smith, was at the Arthur Ashe tennis courts, where the Frenchman conducted tennis clinics for local children.

As he patiently interacted with the mob of young fans, the 23-year-old reminded the youngsters of the importance of hard work and discipline in pursuing their dreams.

"As a youngster when I was dreaming about being a professional player I never met any famous player, so I'm not sure what it means to them to see me here. I spotted some good talent out here today, and I want them to know that it is important to realise the dream," Tsonga said.

Creecy said she felt elated with the reintroduction of top flight tennis to the country after more than a decade.

"It is fitting and exciting that a tournament of such magnitude would come to our province - we are home of the champions. My dream is to one day have a tournament similar to this one in Soweto," said Creecy.

She said Tsonga's visit and the attention it fixed on the township would not be the last anyone heard of the centre, and pointed at the programme her office partly runs at the venue.

"We have two full-time coaches employed here who come to this facility to coach kids every day. Our eventual challenge is to ensure those kids with potential and drive are fully assisted."


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