Bromley Tennis Centre’s new partnership with a world-class Spanish tennis academy offers mutual benefits for both parties.
Junior champions from the South East will have the chance to rub shoulders with former world No.1 Juan Carlos Ferrero after winning a week’s stay at the Spaniard’s academy in Alicante.
The JC Ferrero-Equelite Sport Academy sponsored Bromley Tennis Centre’s Grade 3 tournament in February, with a week’s free training at the academy available for winners of the Under-10, U12 and U14 age groups.
The training base of British No.5 James Ward as well as Spaniards Nicolas Almagro and Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor, the high-performance centre in Villena, a 60km drive from Alicante airport, boasts 10 clay courts, nine hard courts and a grass court as well as a pool, gym, and running track.
With the help of UK-based agent Patsy Gomez, the Spanish academy targeted Bromley in a bid to increase its presence in the UK market.
“They contacted us out of the blue,” explained Sarah Langford, Deputy General Manager at Bromley Tennis Centre. “We have always been keen to get some sponsors involved in our tournaments but we are so busy with everything else it has not been at the top of our priorities so when they contacted us it was fantastic.”
As part of the deal, club members received emails promoting the academy and entrants were offered a 10 per cent discount on tennis programmes. The academy also offered signed posters of 2003 French Open champion Ferrero as prizes.
“We understand that Juan Carlos Ferrero (pictured right) is an important figure in the tennis world but for the younger players he’s not as well known as before,” explains Iñaki Etxegia Centenera, Marketing Manager at Equelite.
“We are sure that if players come and meet us they will like the place and its philosophy. They will talk positively about us and they will probably come back. That’s what we’re looking for but we also offer a nice present for the children – the chance to meet a world No.1 and train with professional tennis players in one of the best academies in the world.”
Sofia Johnson, who won the U12 girls’ tournament, has booked to attend the academy in August with her father.
“I was excited to try and win the final because I knew there was a chance to get a free week of training in Spain,” she said. “When I won I was really happy because I’ve never been to Spain before. I think that it will be a great opportunity for me. I’m really looking forward to it.”
“It’s great for them; they get good players going out to their academy and we get our players going out there training with some great players too,” says Langford, who hopes Equelite will continue to sponsor future tournaments.
“It was really popular and for us it has added a bit of kudos to our tournament so I definitely think we will do it again.”
While Etxegia says there have not been any bookings using the club discount, she was pleased with the campaign.
“Most of the winners had already contacted us and make their reservation,” she said. “Also most of them are coming with their parents who will stay in the Rural Hotel onsite. That’s a bigger opportunity to reach a happy client that will talk positively about the academy.”