Cape Town - South African tennis youngsters will tap into the wealth of knowledge of four-time Grand Slam winner Maria Sharapova's coach Thomas Hogstedt when he conducts a training camp in Stellenbosch in November.
"I am looking forward to seeing and training some of the most talented boys and girls in South Africa and hopefully find the next Sharapova, Li Na or Wozniacki and a new Federer, Djokovic or Nadal,” Hogstedt said.
"I’ve been coaching many star players from around the world but never from South Africa.
"So I can’t wait to start practising with them and maybe we can find South Africa’s next top 10 players to replace the likes of Amanda Coetzer and Wayne Ferreira."
Tennis South Africa (TSA) on Wednesday said the clinic for Under-12 and Under-14 boys and girls was a significant step forward in the search for the country’s next group of tennis superstars.
Hogstedt, regarded as one of the best coaches in the world, will conduct the clinic from November 6-11. TSA said it will invite 20 rising tennis stars to attend the camp.
As a player, Hogstedt won the Junior Boys title at the 1981 US Open and during his playing career had victories over fellow Swede Mats Wilander, French Open champion Andres Gomez and Swiss player Jacob Hlasek.
Hogstedt coached both Germany’s Tommy Haas and China’s Li Na with great success and in 2010 was appointed coach of four-time Grand Slam winner Maria Sharapova.
"I am very thankful to TSA chief executive Ian Smith for giving me this chance," he said.
Smith was instrumental in setting up Hogstedt’s visit, and the project came to fruition thanks to a partnership between TSA and Remgro.
The clinics will all be staged at the Stellenbosch Academy of Sport (SAS).
Richard Sutton, a top South African trainer, will be joining Hogstedt and will deal with physical conditioning, flexibility, broader physical development, science model for flexibility of players, speed agility and proper warm up protocols.
Sutton has worked with the Chinese Olympic Committee and is a big part of the success of the Chinese Olympic team.
He has also worked with Federer, Haas and helped Li Na get back from injury and assisted her when she won the French Open.
Locally, Sutton has also worked with players such as Kevin Anderson and Wesley Moodie. "We have seen over the years that it is important to identify players with ability early in their careers so one can start to work with them as soon as possible," Smith said.
"All too often they slip through the cracks and by the time one realises what has happened, it is all too late.
"With the ability of Thomas and Richard to recognise talent, as well as the specific athletic prerequisites required, we can hopefully build on creating a pool of skilful players."