City Slam, a community-based tennis tournament, created by ellesse in partnership with global streetwear brand Patta, aims to promote accessibility and inclusivity in the sport. The tournament will see the two brands come together to showcase home-grown talent from a diverse array of social backgrounds and inner-city areas.
City Slam will take place on 18 July, a week after the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, providing a timely gateway to open discussions around the existing culture of the sport. The two brands want to change the perception of the game and provide young talented players a platform, which may otherwise not be available to them in everyday life.
Following a sharp demise for the sport that saw numbers of tennis competitors in the UK fall continuously between 2016 and 2020, City Slam aims to switch the narrative and tackle the root of issues limiting access. These include financial inaccessibility, lack of attainable equipment and access to tennis coaching.
Simon Breckon, brand director for ellesse, says; “This is a fresh take on court culture and tennis talent. We want everyone to be able to enjoy tennis as a sport, regardless of their socioeconomic status, and we’re committed to creating accessibility to tennis through funding programmes such as Performance Plus Sport”.
The two-part tournament, run by sporting charity Performance Plus Sport, will see 16 young aspiring tennis players, from different social backgrounds across the UK, take part in a series of ‘Hot Shot’ games played in 10-minute intervals. The winning players will be awarded a one-year scholarship for individual training programmes funded by ellesse and Patta, as well as tennis equipment and kit.
Timothy Sabajo, founder of Patta, says, ‘Working in partnership with ellesse and Performance Plus Sport is an opportunity for Patta to join a revolution in changing the perception of tennis and making it more accessible for everyone. We’re excited to be partnering with ellesse on something that is so close to our hearts.’
Performance Plus Sport are committed it getting the best out of young people through sport and creating opportunities for those who wouldn’t have had the chance otherwise. Throughout its work, Performance Plus Sport continuously spotlights the potential sport has to build self-belief and help young people develop skills in all facets of life.
James Feaver, Director of Performance Plus Sport, says, “We’re hugely honoured and excited to be involved in City Slam. Our team of mentors and volunteers, who dedicate their time to these young people, have been waiting for an opportunity to tell the story of our aspiring young players. We can’t wait to see the results and kick start the new ellesse x Patta scholarship programme.’
The tournament is part of a 3-year partnership between the two brands, ellesse and Patta beyond 18 July. The players, aged 14-17, will be dressed in ellesse x Patta kit, which will be exclusive to the tournament.