In the run-up to the National Games Berlin 2022 (19 - 24 June), Special Olympics athletes Louis Kleemeyer and Samantha Eckert trained with tennis pros Andrea Petkovic and Gaby Dabrowski at the Steffi Graf Stadium in Berlin.
The sports organization of professional women's tennis, WTA, had invited the Special Olympics athletes to a short session and a unified match on center court. An inspiring experience right before the start of the National Games.
"It was really cool and exciting to play and talk with the pros," said tennis player Louis Kleemeyer. "We had a lot of fun and got tips on stance and stroke movement. I hope to implement the tips right away starting 19 June and win my matches."
"It's always exciting to exchange ideas about tennis," said Andrea Petkovic. The Darmstadt native was also impressed by the debut of the young athletes on the fast surface: "The first time on grass! That's not easy, even tennis pros have a hard time there, and then without grass shoes. The two did a great job."
The event and location spoke for themselves: Steffi Graf supports the Special Olympics movement. Tennis is one of the sports at the National Games. Together, Special Olympics and WTA use the global power of sport to help people with intellectual disabilities develop physical fitness, experience joy and make friends - on and off the court.
Starting this weekend, all eyes of the tennis world will be on Berlin when the world class of women's tennis will play in the Steffi Graf Stadium.