Honor and privilege to play for own country or region: ITF president

Updated: 2014-08-22 17:04


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NANJING, China - With the Youth Olympic Games being billed as a gathering for today's youth of the world, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) president Francesco Ricci Bitti highlighted on Friday that it's a great honor to represent your country and region in sport.

"It is important for young athletes to learn the values of Olympism and the importance of playing for your country and region.

One thing we are fully aware of at the ITF, with our experience in Davis Cup and Fed Cup and other team events, is what an honor and privilege it is to represent your country and region in sport," said Bitti.

"The Olympic Games is the number one sporting event in the world and the pinnacle for any athlete wanting to represent his or her country or region. The Youth Olympics gives young athletes the opportunity to enjoy the Olympic experience on a much smaller scale and learn how to handle the responsibility of representing their countries and regions at an early age."

Like the Olympic Games, the competition at the Youth Olympics will be used by the teenage players to collect ranking points for climbing the ladder towards the professional level. In the past Olympics, it's usual that some superstars skip the Olympic tournament to save energy for lucrative ATP and WTA tournaments.

"It is a unique pleasure and privilege to only a few and I hope that they understand and appreciate it."

"I also want them to learn to appreciate the Olympic spirit of fair play and value the chance to integrate with athletes from other sports and other countries and regions at both sporting and cultural events," added Bitti.