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Fed Cup Tie Focuses on Kids

April 24, 2007 12:45 PM

It came as no surprise that USA won its Fed Cup first round tie against Belgium at the Delray Beach Tennis Center this past weekend to move into the semifinals against Russia.  Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Lisa Raymond and Vania King won their matches without a hitch, taking a stunning 5-0 win.  Perhaps even more impressive than the breezy win was that on Thursday, April 19th all members of the Fed Cup team set aside their busy schedule to join in rallies and conversation with over 100 students from S.D. Spady Elementary School (SACC-School Age Child Care program) and Pompey Park’s after-school program.  USTA Florida organized the Fed Cup event at nearby Pompey Park to help kick-off the big tournament.   

Our very own Cheryl Rivera, Janet Sprague, and Lynne Salus organized on-court activities for the children, which included the new 36/60 court set-up.  The children rallied with each other and were absolutely thrilled when the rest of the Fed Cup team joined in the fun.  Every child got to rally with one of the women tennis professionals, and our friends at the media were in attendance to cover the action, including NBC, CBS, ABC, the Palm Beach Post and the Sun-Sentinel.  Celia Rehm, President of USTA Florida, attended the event and was taken back by the wonderful things going on.

"The events were full of fun and excitement for the children," said Celia.  "I have always been a proponent of community events at Professional events, particularly when they involve children because of the unforgettable moments that they provide."

This is the third Fed Cup Tie that USTA Florida has been involved with.  Approximately 50 volunteers worked on the Fed Cup Committee and Lynne Salus organized all volunteer positions. 

“I would like to thank the volunteer coordinators during Fed Cup,” she said.  “Especially Tosca Casinelli (transportation coordinator), Nancy Horowitz (hospitality coordinator), Barbara Quinto (operations coordinator), Monica Sica and Joan Bond (ball kids’ coordinator) for all their help during this event.  I couldn’t have done it without them!”

Every year, the Fed Cup Committee also leaves a legacy for the area where the Fed Cup is held.  This year, the Fed Cup Committee gave the City of Delray Beach $1000 dollars to use towards the Pompey Park NJTL program. 

USTA Florida also hosted a USTA Kids’ Day on Saturday, April 21, 2007 from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at the Delray Beach Tennis Center.  USTA Florida got 450 teens movin’ and groovin’ to music, tennis instruction, games and prizes which offered kids’ a great alterative to sitting and watching matches.  The future tennis stars hit for targets, ran an on-court obstacle course, and practiced their foot movement by dancing to the ever so popular Electric Slide and other classic oldie songs.  It was an action packed day with beautiful weather which made for a perfect tennis fantasy. 

USTA President and Chairman of the Board, Jane Brown Grimes, flew down from New York to attend this special event.  She addressed USTA Florida Community Coordinator, Cheryl Rivera and thanked her for a job well done and expressed how USTA Florida always does a good job at these events.  USTA Florida Volunteer, Terri Smith, highlighted the fact that so many diverse children got to take part in these two tennis celebrations.  

“I just wanted to congratulate everyone on a very successful event,” she said.  “I was proud to see so many minority children on a tennis court.  Some child may have been motivated to become another Serena or Venus or James Blake.  USTA Florida did a great job in organizing the event and I heard many compliments.  Everyone should be proud of the job they did for the community.  I was glad to be a part!”

ALC Jerri Braxton from Pembroke Pines organized a USTA Jr. Team Tennis (JTT) friendly competition which took place on two tennis courts at the Delray Beach Tennis Center.  Sixteen players representing Miami, Broward and East Coast JTT programs played during Kids’ Day promoting USTA Jr. Team Tennis.  The winners and runner-ups each received a Jr. Team Tennis trophy and walked away feeling like a champion. 

In fact, all 450 children walked away as champions because USTA National supplied every child with a Fed Cup t-shirt and Fed Cup backpack filled with goodies.

Thank you to the Fed Cup team, USTA Florida staff and volunteers for being a part of these kids’ lives. 

The goal of both events at Pompey Park and the Delray Beach Tennis Center was definitely accomplished: spreading happiness to children through the great sport of tennis!

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