Richard Krajicek has five new tennis children

Richard Krajicek is the father of 14-year-old Alec Deckers, one of the Netherlands’ talented young tennis players. Thanks to the Partner of the Future programme, Krajicek says, he has acquired five more tennis children.

‘Through Alec I can see from close up how tennis association KNLTB has organised the academy for emerging talent,’ the 1996 Wimbledon champion says. ‘The standard is very high. Now that I’m mentoring Alec and other kids as part of the Partner of the Future programme, I want to work together with KNLTB. We’ll reinforce the association’s existing programme.’ Richard involves his one-time colleague Jan Siemerink, currently Sports Director at KNLTB, in all his plans.

Quick decision

Selecting the young players was an important step, Krajicek says. ‘I’m familiar with youth tennis in the Netherlands for ages 14 and up, and it didn’t take me long to decide who I wanted. Of the whole group, Tim van Rijthoven (17) is the furthest along in his development. We’ll be helping him for a year, to ease the transition from youth tennis to pro. Isolde de Jong (15), Sander Jong (14), Amadatus Admiraal (14) and Judith van Kessel (14) will have more time to benefit from our advice and help. I often see them at practice and playing tournaments.’

Not too big

The group has deliberately been kept quite small. ‘Of course we have more talented kids in the Netherlands, but eight is definitely the maximum that I can make enough time for. Selecting Alec was a choice that I left to others. Of course I was eager to help him, but it was important that everyone agreed. I can’t wait to get started with this group, and with any more kids who emerge from talent training sessions.’

Find out how Richard Krajicek and Esther Vergeer are preparing emerging tennis stars for the future.