Kim Clijsters has set up a framework which will enable young tennis talents to be funded by sponsors, as was announced at the presentation of the project named “Ten4Kim” at the Clijsters Academy in Brée (Limbourg province). The goal is to help rising stars of tennis overcome the hurdles of the high costs associated with the sport. International tournaments, for example, tend to be extremely costly.
“Talented players that may become the next Kim Clijsters one day have to invest heavily in training,” explained Carl Maes. “From as early as 14, they compete in a dozen international tournaments a year, train 20 hours per week, plus at least 10 hours of fitness. The cost to their parents is around 40,000 or 50,000 euros annually, a sum many families simply cannot keep paying, and as a result, many young talents fall by the wayside.” “I care a lot about kids who have the same dreams I had when I was younger. It gets to me that many of them have to give up on those dreams for financial reasons,” Kim Clijsters confessed.
Ten4Kim intends to raise funds from sponsors to offset tournament registration fees and coaching fees. “We do not plan to reimburse the sponsors when players make it,” notes Carl Maes. “We are looking for partners with a philanthropic vision who agree to work with us to establish what kind of return they might get back.”
The project is partnered with the King Baudouin Foundation (Fondation Roi Baudouin) which means the donors will enjoy some level of tax relief. To promote the project, 313 children were invited to the “biggest tennis lesson ever” on Friday.
Kim Clijsters also announced the organisation of a 25,000-dollar tournament in Brée next August to enable Belgian players to score points locally.