Tennis is a very popular sport in Hong Kong, with participation rates growing year by year. More children are taking part in junior tournaments run by the Hong Kong Tennis Association (HKTA). 'The level of interest in playing tennis appears to be increasing. We have started introducing the sport to very young children through our mini-tennis kindergarten programme,' says Janet Hardisty, the HKTA's general manager. 'With the amount of tennis shown on TV in Hong Kong, this has a big influence on the kids and encourages them to give tennis a try, especially after they watch players such as Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, who are so colourful.' As a way of promoting tennis to the wider community, the HKTA ( www.tennishk.org ) also runs the Tennis for All training scheme, which provides budget-priced training courses for children and adults that are run by HKTA-certified coaches. The next junior training courses at elementary, intermediate and advanced levels will start next month and are designed for children aged six to 17. Elementary, intermediate and advanced courses cost HK$894/HK$944 (members and non-members), HK$942/HK$992 and HK$1,038/HK$1,088, respectively, and comprise eight two-hour sessions. Enrolment is available online. The elementary course teaches children basic skills such as forehand, backhand, volley, serve and baseline rallying. The intermediate course focuses on developing better control of these skills and gets children started in learning match play. 'Playing tennis offers children the opportunity to get away from their computer, get some exercise and develop a healthy lifestyle,' Hardisty says. 'To develop their skills, they can take part in our Hong Kong Junior Tennis Novice Competition, which aims to provide young beginners with the chance to engage in friendly yet competitive matches.' The competition is divided into boys' and girls' singles events in under-eight, under-nine and under-10 age groups. The English-Speaking Members Department of the YWCA ( www.esmdywca.org.hk ) is also offering training courses for children aged four to six and seven to 11 at the Hong Kong Tennis Centre. Both courses are open to beginners and experienced players, with each course focusing on the basic strokes of forehand, backhand, volley and serve. Service skills, applying top spin and match play will be taught to more experienced players. Both courses involve nine one-hour sessions and cost HK$1,440 for members and HK$1,680 for non-members. The Hong Kong International Tennis Academy runs a programme called Monster Tennis ( www.monstertennis.hk ) for children aged two to 10. Participants are divided into four age groups, with each using different-sized racquet, balls and court dimensions to ensure children progress according to age and ability.