Bulat Utemuratov: “Tennis in Kazakhstan is for everyone”
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Bulat Utemuratov: “Tennis in Kazakhstan is for everyone”

When Bulat Utemuratov joined the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation, this organization was in a doldrums. The tennis players did not show impressive results, and the officials did not know how to improve the current situation. Utemuratov brought to the KTF a modern approach to setting and achieving goals that is used in business. Multifaceted goal setting had to fundamentally turn the slow tide of tennis life in Kazakhstan.

Having headed the Federation in 2007, Bulat Utemuratov voiced long-term plans approved by the International Tennis Federation. The main one was to turn tennis into the sport of the masses. For this, it was necessary to work in three directions together: developing an infrastructure, training and supporting coaches, participating in competitions. They began to translate plans into actions without delay.

Tennis courts across the country

In 2006 there were 60 courts in four regions of Kazakhstan. The courts did not meet the requirements of international standards and did not meet the basic needs of the athletes. Under the leadership of Utemuratov, the construction of courts began in all oblast centers of the country. Currently, the courts number almost 250. Modern tennis centers have been built in each of the 15 regions of Kazakhstan. They are facilities that meet all the requirements of sports infrastructure; they can host competitions both nationally and globally.

The recently opened tennis center “Ace” in Almaty has 4 indoor and 6 outdoor courts with a total area of ​​8100 square meters with a “hard” coating. All courts have lighting that meets the requirements and standards of international television broadcasting. The center can host ATP Challenger tournaments in the summer. The amount of investments in the project, including construction, equipment and landscaping, exceeded 5 million dollars.

Bulat Utemuratov believes that tennis infrastructure should be easily accessible and available on demand, which is why courts are being built a short distance from densely populated places. So, as the fees for training sessions should be moderate, they now range from $18 to $30 per month for 12 sessions in the regions and $45 in the capital. The number of people willing to play sports is growing geometrically: in 2007 only about 500 people played lawn tennis, today more than 6000.

Children’s programs as a basis for the popularization of sport.

In his role as the head of the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation, Bulat Utemuratov pays special attention to children’s sports. The “Tennis Under 10” program is a social project that aims to train a new generation of athletes capable of defending the country’s honor in the best world tournaments. The main idea of ​​the program is to start the training process as soon as possible. It is for this reason that the program began to operate in kindergartens in different regions of Kazakhstan. “Tennis under 10” units 40 schools and 24 preschool institutions. The “Tennis under 10” program is included in the international ITF Junior Tennis Initiative program for children under 12 who play tennis. Bulat Utemuratov fully financed this project and competitions for the next 3 years.

The second large-scale program for children is the School Tennis Initiative. The project was launched in 2008. Its goal is to increase the number of tennis players across the country by introducing tennis for children from 4 to 6 years old in preschools and from 6 to 10 years old in schools through mini-tennis. Mini-tennis allows you to master the basics of the game on the court in a fun and entertaining way, using the focus of the game in training.

Team Kazakhstan Tennis Academy – casting of champions

The Team Kazakhstan project was launched by the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation in 2008. The field of its activity is the education of future national team participants in the Davis Cup and the Federation Cup. The KTF provides the full funding. In September 2008, the first admitted Kazakhstan team students and coaches were sent to Gorin Tennis Academy, USA, to improve their skills. In 2009, the Dutch expert Eric van Harpen was invited as head coach. In the same year, one of the world’s leading experts, Pole Michislav Boguslavsky, joined the project as the head coach of youth body conditioning and general sports training. Since then, training camps have been held at Bruguera Tennis Academy (Barcelona, ​​Spain), Pro World Tennis Academy (Miami, USA), Gorin Tennis Academy (California, USA), Tennis Val Tennis Academy (Valencia, Spain).

Young athletes have already shown good results in international and national competitions. Among them – Gozal Ainitdinova, Dostanbek Tashbulatov, Timur Khabibullin.

Team Kazakhstan Academy students have won more than 80 international tournaments, including several Grand Prix. In 2017, the Kazakhstani team in the category “under 12 years old” became the champion of Central Asia. Kazakh tennis player Gozal Aynitdinova is the Asian champion in the “up to 14 years” category. Representatives of Kazakhstan’s tennis youth regularly win prizes in Europe.

Victories, achievements, results.

The Kazakhstan men’s team has repeatedly entered the quarterfinals of the prestigious Davis Cup tournament, beating such eminent teams as the Czech Republic (2011), Austria (2013), Belgium (2014), Italy (2015) and then the world champion Argentina in 2017 and returned to the World Group. In February 2018, a team of Kazakh tennis players defeated the Swiss team early and reached the quarterfinals of this prestigious tournament. In the Fed Cup, the Kazakhstan women’s team made it to the playoffs twice.

Around 40 international ITF, ITF futures, ITF Juniors, ATF and ATP Challenger tournaments are held in Kazakhstan every year. The most important tournament in Kazakhstan is the President’s Cup. This tournament is part of the ATP Challenger series, and the women’s tournament is in the ITF series. In addition, Kazakhstan repeatedly hosted international Davis Cup and World Group Fed Cup tournaments.

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