(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Israeli fans will have a rare chance to see their tennis stars in action on Wednesday when Shahar Pe'er, Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich come together at Ramat Hasharon to celebrate the Israel Tennis Center's 30th anniversary.
The ITC's tennis festival includes a singles match between Pe'er and the world's No. 19 ranked Patty Schnyder, and a mixed doubles match in which Ram and Schnyder will face Erlich and Pe'er, who is Israel's highest ranked women's singles player.
"The aim of the festival is to expose the public to the Israel Tennis Center," ITC CEO Janine Strauss said Tuesday. "The ITC is an educational organization that aims to help children through tennis. We strive for excellence and would like to reach every child in Israel."
Pe'er, who took part in a tennis clinic with ITC children on Tuesday, is looking forward to finally playing in front of a home crowd. "We haven't played the Fed Cup at home lately, so this is an excellent chance to play in Israel," she said. "I've never played at a full Ramat Hasharon before, so this will be a dream come true."
The ITC is the world's biggest tennis school, coaching some 9,000 children in 14 centers across Israel. All of Israel's tennis stars learned their trade at the centers, which also run a special program for disabled children and a program which brings Jewish and Arab Israelis together on the tennis court.
"The work done at the ITC over the last 30 years is Zionism at its very best," Strauss said. "We teach the children to give as well as take and were hoping to continue doing so for another 30 years."