Tennis player from El Salvador, Rafael Arevalo, makes history in the XXIX Olympic Games Beijing 2008

Players from developing nations emerge with help

The fruits of some of the development work done by the Olympic and international tennis communities were in evidence on Tuesday night at the Olympic Tennis Centre.

Rafael Arevalo put El Salvador on the tennis map when he was rewarded for a three-sets win over Lee Hyung-Taik (TPE) with a high-profile match against the world No. 1 Roger Federer on Centre Court. And the 22-year-old far from disgraced himself, picking up six games in Federers 62 64 win.

Yet players from countries like El Salvador who have little or no tennis tradition do not just materialise on their own. They need assistance, both practical and financial, and Arevalo is a case of where such assistance has really helped the player to progress.

There are many organisations who contribute towards developing tennis talent from emerging countries. Through Olympic Solidarity, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) works with athletes, coaches, sports administrators, National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and International Federations to support the worldwide development of all sport. Olympic Solidarity is the part of the IOC that distributes television income from the Olympic Games to the NOCs. In addition, there is the Grand Slam Development Fund (GSDF) which is administered by the International Tennis Federation, in addition to the ITF’s own development programme initiatives and the support of the national federation.

Since 2005, Arevalo has received US$80,000 through the Olympic Solidarity Training Grants for Young Athletes programme, after the ITF development department nominated him as a future talent. This funding enabled him to make the difficult transition from junior to professional player by being based at the ITF Spanish centre for two years. He has also received US$12,500 in travel grants from the Grand Slam Development Fund, which have helped him to travel to tournaments. In addition, as a junior, he was a member of the ITF/Grand Slam Touring Team programme, another initiative which facilitates the transition of talented players through regional and international junior competitions and where possible on to the professional ranks.

At 447 in the rankings, Arevalo still has a way to go before his full talent is realised, but his experience in Beijing this week will certainly have helped. Far from looking fazed before his goldfish bowl encounter with Federer, he appeared remarkably relaxed, took his time, and showed considerable inventiveness during the 77-minute match.

He was given a taste of the gulf in class between him and the great Federer in the first game. He should have put a short forehand away, but Federer’s speed around the court allowed the Swiss to turn defence into attack with a scintillating running forehand winner. Instead of 40-15, Arevalo was at 30-30 and promptly dropped serve.

But he wasn’t knocked off course. He earned his first game thanks to a precision defensive lob, and though never in Federer’s class, he never seemed out of his depth. With more experience he will play more rallies closer to the baseline, and will learn to expect more of his ‘winning’ shots to come back.

But it was a confident performance which will have warmed the hearts of all who have helped him – including those who have pushed for the ‘Tripartite invitation’ from which Arevalo profited: the wildcard given to players from countries underrepresented at the Olympics. Arevalo was one of only 11 in the El Salvador team, and he did his country proud.

Published by the International Tennis Federation
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  1. I think that having Mr. Arevalo as player from a non tenis tradition country is a plus.

    Knowing that the International Olympic Committe has help him with different funds is comiable, further more, we hope that these funds could be in permanent basis and see it as appropiations funds to such athlets that can't afford activities by their own.

    Seen how he has performed in the Olympics is great!

    I agree with the statement:
    "Arevalo still has a way to go before his full talent is realised"

    There we are, helping fully support to representations that need to compite and WIN in events as such.


    Jose Matatias Dlgado y Del Hambre.

  2. Me adelanto al tema de ALBAPETROLEOS y me pregunto cual sera el criterio que domine para hacer las publicaciones en contra o en pro que este blog llevara a cabo en estos dias, relacionadas a las noticias de ALBAPETROLEOS, tal y como lo hicieron con un articulo del PAIS donde la Sra. Rico sin prueba alguna comenzo a crear una matriz de opinion en la campaña sucia contra el FMLN.

    veremos si los articulos no daran a conocer lo que acontece ni las declaraciones que han dado los representantes de ALBA PETROLEOS.

    estas son las primeras noticias que se han dado a conocer en el periodico el colatino:



    habra un analisis acerca de lo que acontece actualmente en la campaña electoral y la campaña sucia que el presidente Saca y su partido ARENA. S.A de C.V para atacar lo que representa una amenaza para ellos y sus relaciones con monopolios transnacionales que distribuyen el petroleo en El Salvador?

    Hablaran en este blog sobre los precios bajos de los productos derivados del petroleo que benefician a la poblacion salvadoreña en estos momentos de crisis energetica mundial?

    Revelaran en este blog que pese a que a nivel mundial los precios por barril del crudo ha bajado de $ 147 a $ 113 pero dentro del pais, la venta de los precios de la gasolina aun no se reduce?

    Habra un analisis sobre la situacion o se lanzaran como locos a darle covertura solo a lo que dicen la LPG y el Diario de hoy?

    No se pierdan los proximos elementos de juicio y de matriz de opinion que aca se apoyen!!

  3. Having played and coached tennis for much of my life, I am always amazed how people's first reasons and real passions for playing tennis often get kicked to the side when competition, politics and comparison with other players happens. When I listen to the chatter, I hear less and less about the love of the sport and more and more about how this person let me down or that person doesn't deserve to play on that team. What is the real reason why you play the sport of tennis or why you do anything in life? If it isn't a passion, don't do it. Tennis time

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