by Mauro Cappiello
An important agreement was signed on Friday involving the Municipality of Växjö, the Linnaeus University and the Swedish Tennis Federation, that will allow students who apply for the local university to be supported in their tennis activity.
So Växjö university becomes the first tennis university in Sweden.
«This is of course an incredible opportunity for young people to be able to combine study and high level tennis», said Stefan Edberg. Along with Magnus Larsson and Carl-Axel Hageskog, Stefan runs the Växjö Climate Arena, that already had an agreement with the Linnaeus University and will be used as technical tennis centre for the project.
The programme will last three years, starting from next autumn, and 700,000 Swedish crowns (some € 80,000, US$110,000) have been budgeted by the Växjö Municipality.
«Sport must take full responsibility towards young people who invest a lot in it so that they have something back once their sports activity is over, - explains former Swedish Davis Cup Team captain Carl-Axel Hageskog, who is also involved. - Tennis has changed over the last decades. When Stefan Edberg and Magnus Larsson broke through they were younger than what players are today. That allows us to try and help them combine a tennis career with a life after it».
This initiative obviously aims at finding a solution to the long lasting setback of tennis in Sweden, encouraging the young to approach the sport by giving them, at the same time, a long term alternative through high profile education.
«We have worked for a long time on the idea of Sweden’s first tennis university in Växjö, in order to attract those young talents (70 to 100 annually) that otherwise travel to the US to study and play tennis,» says Stefan Edberg.
But the opportunity will not be only limited to Swedish young hopes.
According to Hageskog, of the dozen students/players who will be able to combine tennis and academic studies and research, three or four may come from abroad.
Stefan Edberg with Per Schöldberg (mayor of Växjö), Magnus Larsson, Carl-Axel Hageskog and Stephen Hwang (principal of Linnaeus university) at the Södra Climate Arena
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