BRATISLAVA, Slovakia - Dominika Cibulkova might be sidelined by an Achilles injury at present, but the winner of eight WTA singles titles is making the most of her time back home in Bratislava, spearheading a schools’ outreach program in and around the Slovak capital.

Under the two-week-long grass roots scheme, coaches from the Love4Tennis Dominika Cibulkova Academy have been busy visiting local elementary schools to share their passion for the game, and hopefully inspire youngsters to pick up a racquet on a regular basis. 

Forty-minute activity programs comprising on-court drills and off-court exercises have been devised for pupils from first through fourth grade, with Cibulkova on hand to offer encouragement as the children are put through their paces. All up, the touring tennis camp will take in 13 different schools and come into contact with more than 2,000 kids.

“You could say we are looking for Slovakia’s future tennis stars,” said former World No.4 Cibulkova. “But mostly I want to motivate young people to give it a go because tennis is a sport for life and there are so many benefits for health and fitness. 

“I also really want the kids to see that tennis is fun and a great way to make friends!”

Young participants who show a special aptitude for and interest in the sport will then be given the chance to follow up with initially free lessons at the Love4Tennis Academy, which offers programs for players of various ages and levels – from beginners right up to complex game analysis supervised by Matej Liptak, captain of Slovakia’s Fed Cup team and Cibulkova’s longtime coach.

The Love4Tennis Academy was founded by Erik Csarnakovics in 2006, and he remains head coach at the full-service facility. In 2018, Cibulkova lent her name and hands-on expertise to the mix, training with some of the brightest prospects and also serving as a mentor to up-and-coming players.

Open days are held periodically, offering parents an opportunity to bring their kids along to try the sport.  

Cibulkova remains the only Slovak woman to reach a Grand Slam singles final, at the Australian Open in 2014, where her run was ended by Li Na. She won the biggest title of her career at the WTA Finals in Singapore in 2016, defeating Angelique Kerber in the final.

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