The Millennium Estoril Open launched at the Clube de Ténis do Estoril in 2015. It didn’t take long for the event to support its community.
In 2018, the ATP 250 was awarded an ATP ACES For Charity grant to support Academia Dos Champs, which teaches tennis as a tool to instil strong, positive guidelines in underprivileged children and young adults.
At that year’s event, ATP Executive Vice President, Europe, David Massey presented Academia Dos Champs Chairman Antonio Champalimaud and Estoril Tournament Director João Zilhão with a cheque for the grant. Zilhão was highly complimentary of the charity programme.
“It’s great,” Zilhão said. “Obviously tennis is one of the most impactful sports in the world in terms of visibility year-round on five continents, 11 months. It’s great that tennis can give back to the community as well and help those projects that can also benefit tennis.”
The tournament director also had high praise for Academia Dos Champs and its efforts to make a difference in the community.
“We’ve been helping them for a long time now. They do very valuable work around the country to promote tennis in very complicated neighborhoods,” Zilhão said. “They take teachers, balls, all the logistics to give tennis lessons to kids who would normally not have access to tennis. So it’s a great project. They help a lot. They have many, many kids having tennis lessons for free under their supervision and their coaches and so it’s something we really like to be part of.”
Academia Dos Champs promotes the benefits of sport and how it transcends social classes, backgrounds and life circumstances while rewarding effort and dedication. With over 260 students across 10 centres, the Academia Dos Champs has held more than 10,000 tennis lessons since 2009 and more than half of its overall student population benefitted from the more than 1,100 tennis lessons funded by the ATP ACES For Charity grant.
“Along with our Partners – such as the Millennium Estoril Open, we want to generate global awareness regarding these important themes, so that our project can make a real difference in as many lives as possible,” Champalimaud said. “We are certain that tennis will have a positive impact in countless aspects of our students’ future.”