On his first day in Israel, famed British pop singer Cliff Richard didn’t have a microphone in hand, but a tennis racket.
The 72-year-old avid tennis player arrived in Israel on Monday – first to perform two concerts at Tel Aviv’s Nokia Arena on Thursday and Saturday – and then requested to take time out at the beginning of his trip to visit the Nazareth Tennis School, which houses two tennis courts that he helped fund.
Yet this particular tennis school is about much more than just sport, it presents an opportunity to bring young children together.
“When anybody does anything to do with tennis and young people, what you’re hoping for ultimately is for them to grow up having tennis as a sport to play,” said Richard during his visit to the school on Tuesday. “It’s a very social sport, it’s easy to play, you make a lot of friends, that’s the ultimate goal.”
Richard became involved with the school in 2004 in an effort to promote coexistence among the city’s Jewish and Arab youth.
The school, located on the grounds of the YMCA, is a Nazareth landmark that was founded by 76-year-old Nazareth resident Salomon Hamed. He explained on Tuesday that he started playing tennis at the age of seven and was taught the game by British officers while working as a ball boy.
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