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BNP PARIBAS RCS Rising Star Tennis is back!

More schools, more opportunities and more fun: BNP Paribas RCS Rising Star Tennis is back!

  • BNP Paribas and Tennis South Africa ‘Rising Star Tennis’ initiative, aiming to increase youth participation to tennis in South Africa, now includes secondary school players and a wheelchair category, increasing opportunities for new generations
  • South African star and ATP champion Kevin Anderson, the official ambassador of this initiative, is joined by wheelchair tennis ace Kgothatso Montjane, and junior stars Kholo Montsi and Kaitlyn Ramduth
  • In 2019, the competition involved 361 schools and reached over 2 000 children across the country, over seven months


Following a successful inaugural edition of the BNP Paribas RCS Rising Star Tennis competition last year, the nationwide school programme will return bigger and better in the coming months. The news comes as BNP Paribas, and their wholly owned consumer finance subsidiary RCS, announced their continued commitment over the weekend to the partnership with Tennis South Africa (TSA) and a second edition of the programme to grow the game across the country.

The tennis initiative which involved close to 400 schools in 2019, is seeking to build on the positive momentum of its first year by expanding the programme even further. This year, the BNP Paribas RCS Rising Star Tennis competition will see the inclusion of high school players and a wheelchair category, alongside the existing primary schools’ competition, increasing opportunities for a new generation of player. 

A sports project with a purpose, BNP Paribas RCS Rising Star Tennis aims to create opportunities for school boys and girls from all communities and to increase youth participation in tennis. By making tennis more inclusive in South Africa, organisers also hope to promote tennis at grass roots level and utilise the sport as a powerful tool to empower the nation's youth.

The successful 2019 BNP Paribas RCS Rising Star Tennis competition, which was played over seven months, reached over 2 000 children across all nine provinces. At the series finals, held at the Arthur Ashe Tennis Centre in Soweto, in February of this year, Grey College and Oranje Meisieskool, both from the Free State, emerged victorious in the boys' and girls' divisions, respectively.  

Kevin Anderson, the former world No 5, will continue to play a key role as the main ambassador and face of the national schools’ events. 

“It was a great honour to witness the discovery of some amazing tennis talent in year one of the  BNP Paribas RCS Rising Star Tennis and I am even more excited to help discover more talent in year two, as the competition returns, bigger and better than ever. It is extremely encouraging to see BNP Paribas and RCS coming on board for a second year to give opportunities and kick-start the development of many more future South African Tennis stars. Together with BNP Paribas, RCS and Tennis South Africa, I would like to see more kids in South Africa take up tennis, fall in love with the sport and reach greater heights,” said Anderson.  

Eager to motivate young players, Anderson will be joined by three more ambassadors, including wheelchair tennis ace Kgothatso Montjane - a former US Open doubles finalist - and talented junior stars, Kholo Montsi and Kaitlyn Ramduth.

BNP Paribas South Africa, Head of Territory, Vikas Khandelwal said. “The success of the 2019 BNP Paribas RCS Rising Star Tennis competition surpassed all of our expectations, and this year we aim to celebrate and support tennis all the more in South Africa with the inclusion of secondary school students. As a global sponsor of tennis, BNP Paribas understands the transformative effects of sport on young people, and this initiative ties in with the bank’s corporate commitment to the younger generation.”

RCS CEO, Regan Adams said that programmes such as these have never been more important to help uplift the youth of our country. “At RCS we firmly believe that empowerment through sport is one of the most powerful forms of upliftment. Our mission for this year is for this sponsorship to make a meaningful impact in the lives of the many talented youths in disadvantaged communities, enabling their development and creating opportunities for them to compete. Ultimately, we want to see community facilities upgraded for the sport to grow across South Africa.”

Though the nation is still emerging from a lengthy lockdown, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rising Star Tennis programme provides a platform for children to return to outdoor activity while observing various health and safety protocols, including social distancing. Hundreds of schools will again be targeted around South Africa, with organisers focusing on schools in underprivileged areas. 

“We are very fortunate to have BNP Paribas and RCS as partners for local tennis. Both brands are passionate about making a tangible difference with their sponsorship and year two expansion, to include high schools and wheelchair tennis, is a clear sign of this deep commitment.

“Tennis, as a non-contact sport, is one of the safest sports to play, in the current COVID-19 environment, and with the right protocols in place we are confident that these events can be held across the country - in an extremely low risk way. ,” said Richard Glover, CEO of Tennis South Africa.


About BNP Paribas & Tennis

BNP Paribas is today the number one partner to tennis worldwide, with a commitment, unrivalled in sport, which goes back all the way to 1973. The Group’s support covers all levels and dimensions of the game all over the world, including singles, doubles, team tennis, wheelchair tennis and family tennis, ranging from beginners’ training to the top professional tournaments.

  • Professional Tennis: Official sponsor of the French Open at Roland Garros; title sponsor of the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas; title sponsor of three ATP Masters 1000 tournaments – the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters, the Internazionali BNL d’Italia (Italian Open) in Rome; partner to the Open 13 (Marseille), the Parc de Lyon Open, the BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open and the Fever-Tree Championships (Queen’s Club, London), European Open (Anvers); 
  • Wheelchair Tennis: BNP Paribas Open de France; BNP Paribas World Team Cup;
  • Junior & University Tennis and Academies: The Junior Davis Cup by BNP Paribas and Junior Fed Cup by BNP Paribas; the Master’U BNP Paribas;
  • Amateur Tennis: Sponsor of the BNP Paribas Family Trophy; also providing support to over 1,000 amateur tournaments around the world, as well as being the mainspring of a number of ground-breaking social projects linked to tennis, through partnerships with more than 20 national tennis federations and working in tandem with dozens of tennis-based charities such as the charity organisation Fête le Mur founded and chaired by Yannick Noah 
  • The younger generation: the ‘BNP Paribas Young Talent Team’, in association with the French Tennis Federation and mentored by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga; the ‘BNP Paribas Mac 1 Team’, with John and Patrick McEnroe in the United States; and the ‘BNP Paribas Kids Fête le Mur  Team’, with Yannick Noah’s Fête le Mur charity organisation. 
  • Tennis e-sport: ‘Roland-Garros e-Series by BNP Paribas’, an e-sport tournament played all over the world as part of the ‘Tennis World Tour’ video game. 

Having entered into all these partnerships, BNP Paribas set up in 2011 a programme called We Are Tennis, whose purpose is to promote interest in the game of tennis all over the world. The website and its social network accounts bring together a community of tennis lovers and dedicated fans from all continents who are keen to obtain the latest news from the ATP, WTA and ITF circuits. Furthermore, in 2015 BNP Paribas created the We Are Tennis Fan Academy, which enables fans to express their passion for tennis as never before. BNP Paribas also supports local tennis through crowdfunding campaigns designed to finance projects. 

In addition, the Group initiated in 2015 a charity programme called ‘Aces of the Heart’, whose aim is to help improve the reception facilities and daily lives of children who are in-patients at paediatric hospitals. The programme also arranges for the hospitalised children to watch tennis tournaments sponsored by BNP Paribas.

About BNP Paribas

BNP Paribas is a leading bank in Europe with an international reach. It has a presence in 71 countries, with approximately 199,000 employees, of which more than 151,000 in Europe. The Group has key positions in its three main activities: Domestic Markets and International Financial Services (whose retail-banking networks and financial services are covered by Retail Banking & Services) and Corporate & Institutional Banking, which serves two client franchises: corporate clients and institutional investors. The Group helps all its clients (individuals, community associations, entrepreneurs, SMEs, corporates and institutional clients) to realise their projects through solutions spanning financing, investment, savings and protection insurance. 


About RCS

Founded in 1999, RCS is a leading consumer finance company that serves more than 2.5 million customers across South Africa, Namibia and Botswana. Having become a wholly-owned subsidiary of global bank BNP Paribas in 2015, the RCS group employs over 2000 people and offers a range of credit and personal finance products including Cards, Loans, Insurance and Car Finance.

Today, RCS is the largest provider of white label consumer finance products in South Africa, powering credit solutions for over 30 of South Africa’s largest retailers. Committed to uplifting the communities in which it operates, RCS – as part of its CSR initiatives and in partnership with TSIBA Ignition Academy – supports local start-ups through Level Up, an enterprise and supplier initiative. The initiative empowers local starts-ups to grow their businesses through various innovation and mentorship programmes. 

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