Tennis legend Yannick Noah grew up in Cameroon, and on Tuesday he showed the world how eager children from the country are to play tennis. The 1983 Roland Garros champion shared on social media a video of dozens of kids bouncing up and down and chanting in excitement as they slowly moved up a line to get a chance to hit a couple of balls on a makeshift court.
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who has a foundation that supports preschool kids in Serbia, took notice of the Cameroonian children and reposted the video on his own channels.
“This is pure love and passion for tennis. I love this video and send my gratitude to the coaches who made this happen. So creative, well done !” Djokovic tweeted. “P.S. I love how they sing and hop while waiting for their turn to hit ball.”
This is pure love ❤️ and passion for tennis. I love this video and send my gratitude to the coaches who made this happen. So creative well done ! 👏🏼🙌🏼🙏🏼 p.s. I love how they sing and hop while waiting for their turn to hit ball 😍
Repost @ yannicknoah pic.twitter.com/LPqxPX8ds6
— Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole) March 23, 2021
Former World No. 5 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, whose father is Congolese, was among many who commented about the amazing kids’ energy.
“Too proud to see that!” Tsonga wrote. “@yannicknoah this is inspiring.”
Yannick Noah visits the Oyebog Tennis Academy. Photo Credit: Oyebog Tennis Academy
The video is of children participating in the Oyebog Tennis Academy, a non-profit organisation founded by Cameroonian Joseph Oyebog, who climbed as high as No. 1187 in the FedEx ATP Doubles Rankings. The OTA, which serves underprivileged children, has introduced more than 12,000 kids to tennis according to the organisation’s website.
“The programme is a safe haven for children; a place to go where they feel great about themselves,” Oyebog wrote. “When I see a kid on the court smiling, with something else to think about besides illness and when their next meal will come; when they have some light in their lives, I know it is all worth it.”