The role of tennis clubs for migrant families and intergenerational fun


    By Sophia San Andres
    Brooklyn Tennis Club member

    Sporting clubs like tennis clubs offer ways to promote community engagement and offer a unique platform for fostering unity. This is crucial for immigrants who have no or very few extended families for support. 

    Chris Oosthuizen, a South African, moved to different places around the world as a Finance Executive. He worked in Wales, London, and Singapore before finally settling in Newport with his young family. Chris, whose parents and siblings live overseas, knew that he had to create a social network to offset his family abroad. After trying different sports for his two young boys, Joshua and James, they settled for tennis. Tennis clicked as this is a sport where the whole family can play together. Then in 2019 they joined Brooklyn Tennis Club, and the boys became more involved playing with other families. After the 2021 lockdowns, the family became more involved in tennis through junior and senior competitions. The tennis club became their 3rd home. Like so many in the same situation, the tennis club is not just a place for physical activity but also a place for social growth. Chris firmly believes that his boys with their interactions in the club are learning life values like resilience, patience, sportsmanship, respect.

    My parents, both migrants, connected seamlessly with locals through tennis. Tennis is played and watched worldwide. This wide appeal leads to tennis clubs and events attracting diverse groups of players which promotes cross-cultural interactions and understanding. My simplistic advice for migrant families who feel isolated is to learn tennis and join a club. At our tennis club there are lots of first-generation migrants.

    Tennis is one of the few sports which boasts equal numbers of male and female players, at both a novice and professional level. As such athletes of any level can pursue tennis with fewer constraints regarding gender. In terms of adaptability, tennis is a sport which can be pursued regardless of personal ability. Adaptive tennis programs and wheelchair tennis are examples of how the sport can be made accessible to individuals with physical disabilities. Modifications to the rules and equipment, such as lighter rackets and specially designed wheelchairs, allow people with disability to enjoy the game competitively and recreationally.

    Clubs like Brooklyn Tennis Club have the potential to be much more than places for sport. They can become vibrant community centres promoting social health and wellbeing. These clubs provide a space for social interaction, networking, and the formation of lasting friendships. As a sport, tennis can be enjoyed by individuals of all ages and skill levels. Whether you’re a five-year-old picking up a racket for the first time, or a senior perfecting their serve, tennis welcomes everyone. This encourages people from different age groups and backgrounds to come together and engage in the sport.

    Whether on a local court or at an international tournament, the inclusive nature of tennis enriches lives and fosters unity, making it a sport for everyone. 

    Interested in getting involved in tennis? Visit Brooklyn Tennis Club website – 

    Contact Brooklyn Tennis Club via email –

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