The aim of the SO Tour is in an enjoyable and simple way to get more children to try out competitive tennis in a form that is adapted to today's tennis, children and parents.
For many children and young people in Sweden, the SO Tour is the first proper competition in which they participate. It is a way to stimulate children in tennis schools throughout the country and also to get them to maintain their interest in tennis. We are proud that the SO Tour is Sweden's largest tournament. There is great interest among children and parents. In 2019 no less than 58 competitions were held in Stockholm and a total of 330 competitions throughout Sweden with around 9,000 children.
The competitions were held at a large number of clubs during the terms. Players choose themselves how many competitions they play in the tour, and all players get at least four matches in a competition. There are currently 3 different classes within the SO TOUR: Mini, Midi and Maxi. It is age that determines the class in which players compete and all parents of competing children are instructed in fair play.
The competition is very popular and has grown rapidly. It was started in Stockholm in 1997 and was initially called the Wilson Tour. In 2007 it changed name to IF SO TOUR, thus linking it to the Stockholm Open's children and young people's initiative. The competition is now played in all of Sweden's tennis regions.
The matches are played with RS balls. Court size, balls, rackets and net are adapted according to the child's age and all participants receive a medal. The success formula in the competition is that all participants get to feel like a winner. Great importance is placed on Fair Play. In each competition a review is performed and all parents receive a Fair Play card with tips and advice on what they should think about and what applies in matches.
In that Play and Stay has been implemented in the clubs, we have found a pedagogical line between training (Play and Stay) and competition (SO TOUR) with its balls and courts. The competition is appreciated by players, parents and clubs. All parties involved have an enjoyable time in the tennis hall together with other players and parents, with lots of matches as well as a shared coffee break.
The SO Tour's overall aim is for as many children as possible to try out competitive tennis. If in addition the children think that it's fun, then we have succeeded!
The mini-tennis tour (6-9 years old) is a very good competition form for the small juniors who want to start testing what it feels like to compete in tennis.
The matches are played on mini-tennis courts. Played with soft red RS ball on a small court. Points start at 5–5 and it is first to 15 points.
The midi-tennis tour (7-9 years old) is a mid-stage in player development.
The matches are played on midi-tennis courts, in other words a court that is a couple of metres shorter and a bit narrower than an ordinary court. Played with orange RS ball on medium sized court. Points as in match tiebreak, i.e first to 10 points
The maxi- tennis tour (9-11 years old) should be viewed as a competition form that facilitates the step into ”ordinary tournaments” and which provides good match experience in a short period at a reasonable price.
The matches are played on ordinary tennis courts with a green RS ball on a full sized court. Points as in Midi-tennis.
Ambassador for the competition is Robin Söderling.
Principal competition director for SO Tour in Sweden is Anders Heimklo, Regional manager for Tennis Stockholm
SO Tour's goals for 2020
- The ATP tour's best youth initiative
- Strengthen Stockholm Open's partners through 12 months exposure in Sweden
- Help Swedish Tennis to develop through national and regional cooperation.
- ”The threshold to start competing” should feel as low and natural as possible so that we get as many as possible to try out competition tennis, start to enjoy competing and carry on competing.
- Stimulate and produce more children and juniors who love competing.
- Display tennis positively in the media and among the general public