NEW YORK, August 27, 2016
The Grand Slam® Development Fund (GSDF) was originally established in 1986 to encourage and increase competitive opportunities in developing tennis regions. With annual contributions from the four Grand Slam nations, the Fund has become an effective means for the International Tennis Federation to fulfil its mandate to develop competitive tennis worldwide through its affiliated National Tennis Associations. The total funding by the ITF and the Grand Slam tournaments in tennis development since 1986 is over $96 million.
The Fund is designed to encourage the establishment of both junior and professional circuits, and to assist players directly, through touring teams or travel grants, to gain international competitive experience. This has helped increase the number of nations represented in mainstream international competition.
Olympic champion Monica Puig of Puerto Rico and men’s silver medallist Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina have both benefited from the Fund. Puig received a series of travel grants between 2008-12, while del Potro was twice a member of the South American 14 & Under Touring Team to Europe.
The 2014 Australian Open champion Li Na of China is the most recent Grand Slam singles champion to have received support. Li, who also won the 2011 Roland Garros title, travelled to Europe for the first time as a 16-year-old in 1998 as a member of an ITF/GSDF Junior Touring Team.
Two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, and 2013 Wimbledon and 2014 Roland Garros doubles champions Hsieh Su-Wei of Chinese Taipei and Peng Shuai of China have also received support from the Fund. Azarenka was a member of two ITF/GSDF Junior Touring Teams in 2004, to Europe and North America; while Hsieh and Peng first met in 1999 when they were both members of ITF/GSDF 14 & under touring teams.
Jean-Julien Rojer of Netherlands, the 2015 Wimbledon men’s doubles champion, is another player to have benefited from the Fund, when based in Curacao which at the time was part of Netherlands Antilles. Other players to have been supported by the Fund include three-time Roland Garros champion Gustavo Kuerten (BRA) and Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis (CYP).
The following 41 players competing in the singles main draws at 2016 US Open have received help from the Fund:
MEN: Radu Albot (MDA), Kevin Anderson (RSA), Marcos Baghdatis (CYP), Facundo Bagnis (ARG), Aljaz Bedene (GBR), Thomaz Bellucci (BRA), Ricardas Berankis (LTU), Carlos Berlocq (ARG), Guilherme Clezar (BRA), Pablo Cuevas (URU), Juan Martin del Potro (ARG), Grigor Dimitrov (BUL), Damir Dzumhur (BIH), Gastao Elias (POR), Denis Istomin (UZB), Ilya Ivashka (BLR), Malek Jaziri (TUN), Yen-Hsun Lu (TPE), Juan Monaco (ARG), Guido Pella (ARG), Dudi Sela (ISR), Janko Tipsarevic (SRB), Viktor Troicki (SRB).
WOMEN: Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU), Ana Bogdan (ROU), Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR), Sorana Cirstea (ROU), Mariana Duque-Marino (COL), Montserrat Gonzalez (PAR), Simona Halep (ROU), Hsieh Su-Wei (TPE), Danka Kovinic (MNE), Varvara Lepchenko (USA), Monica Niculescu (ROU), Jelena Ostapenko (LAT), Peng Shuai (CHN), Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL), Monica Puig (PUR), Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR), Zhang Shuai (CHN), Zheng Saisai (CHN).
The following five players will compete in the 2016 US Open junior event as members of the ITF/GSDF International 18 & Under Touring Team:
BOYS: Yousef Hossam (EGY), Khumoyun Sultonov (UZB)
GIRLS: Diae El Jardi (MAR) Malene Helgo (NOR) Iona Minca (ROU)