Pretoria - Tennis South Africa (TSA) has confirmed its support for the “Handshake Challenge” - a newly launched initiative by former South African tennis professional, Davis Cup player and coach, John-Laffnie de Jager.
The #HandShakeChallenge encourages respect between opponents by asking participants in any sport to shake hands before and after competition. De Jager says handshakes in sport are a sign of respect between opponents. He is now encouraging sport stars to shake hands with their rivals - whether on the tennis court, pitch or rugby field.
“Sport is one of the greatest tools to bring people together. I believe every one of us is someone’s hero. Each one of us has the ability to change lives and inspire. Sport helps us to develop into everyday champions and you will always be remembered not only by your performance but more so by the way you played and conducted yourself in competition. So, the Handshake Challenge challenges all competitors to shake hands before and after their game, showing respect for each and ultimately showing respect for yourself. By challenging your opponent to play his or her best, it will bring out the best in you,” said De Jager.
The #HandShakeChallenge is fast gaining momentum, with a number of Springbok rugby captains and players having already embraced it - including John Smit, Jean de Villiers, Victor Matfield, Fourie du Preez, Corne Krige, Stefan Terblanche, Wayne Fyvie and Werner Swanepoel. Cricket superstar, AB de Villiers, has also given his backing to the concept.
TSA is the first sport federation in South Africa to embrace the #HandShakeChallenge and will encourage all players participating in the upcoming Growthpoint Series of Super 8 tournaments, in Durban, Johannesburg and Benoni, to take it on.
The national tennis body will activate the #HandShakeChallenge at the upcoming Growthpoint junior national squad training camp in Stellenbosch, which gets underway on June 22.
Richard Glover, CEO of TSA, also commented: “The #HandShakeChallenge is a simple but powerful way of encouraging players - especially junior players - to play hard on the court while still showing respect for their opponents. We fully endorse the concept and indeed challenge all sports federations in South Africa to get behind it."