Liverpool welcomed young Ukrainian junior players in recent ITF Junior tournaments after a new five-year agreement between the British and Ukrainian Tennis Foundations will assist in continuing careers one year since the start of the conflict in Ukraine.
The foundation has four Ukrainian players currently living on site at the Delgado and Lee Academy in Bisham’s Abbey.
These players are given the chance to eat, live and train under a professional programme.
This new initiative is being funded by a local investor in Bisham’s Abbey, and one of the people involved in the foundation is Johnny Delgado, who works at the academy.
Delgado, who spoke to MerseySportLive at the Liverpool Under 18 International Tennis Tournament, says watching these young Ukrainian talents inspires everyone to strive for more.
He added: “They are hungry for success. They train alongside the British junior tennis players.
“We have to sometimes get them off the court. They want to succeed.”
The foundation has been instrumental in Liverpool helping guide two Ukrainian tennis talents.
Veronika Kliuch, 15, lost in the second round of the Liverpool Under 18 International Tennis Tournament.
Fourteen-year-old qualifier Anastasiia Sorska reached the semi-finals.
The Ukrainian Tennis Federation trialled 100 players and four Ukrainian players were chosen to live and train in Britain with the sponsorship.
The Ukraine Tennis Project has been set up to help assist these young juniors.
To help more Ukrainian junior players, they need more sponsorship to assist more players.
The war in Ukraine has seen facilities and clubs destroyed, leaving young promising careers on the brink.
Anders Borg, tournament director at the tournament, said of the foundation: “It’s a fantastic initiative. I’m glad the players are here and the families are safe.
“I’m so happy they are able to continue doing what they love the most and that is to play tennis.”
(Featured image – Elina Svitolina courtesy of Fred Romero under creative commons licence)