Adult Leagues Adult Tournaments Junior Tournaments Jr. Team Tennis Learn more

Michelle Obama, USTA Team Up; Lendl, Sampras Win BNP Parisbas Showdown; More

Michelle Obama, USTA Team Up; Lendl, Sampras Win BNP Parisbas Showdown; More

Watch the video
USTA Teams with First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move!" Campaign for Kids

The USTA and First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move!" campaign have teamed up to encourage young people across the country to get active, try tennis and lead healthy lifestyles.
Components of the collaboration include a new public service announcement to air nationwide, the construction and renovation of thousands of tennis courts across the country, and the commitment to encourage 200,000 children to participate in the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award.

"It's important for kids to get the hour of active play they need every day, and there are so many fun things that each of us can do to be healthier," said First Lady Michelle Obama. "Thanks to programs like the USTA's 10 and Under Tennis initiative, it's easier than ever for kids to get active and have fun."

USTA Chairman of the Board and President Jon Vegosen says the new 10 and Under Tennis initiative will introduce a whole new generation to the game.

"Tennis is the sport of opportunity. With our new 10 and Under initiative, tennis is also the newest 'pick-up sport' where kids can play in schools, in parks, at clubs, and even at home," Vegosen said. "Our new collaboration with the First Lady and 'Let's Move!' will help us reach more families to teach them that tennis is easier to learn and access than ever before."

Working with the Office of the First Lady, the USTA is launching a public service announcement to promote tennis as part of the 60 minutes of play a day kids need. The PSA features First Lady Michelle Obama, Andre Agassi and Stefanie Graf, all of whom play the role of ballpersons for youngsters playing tennis on courts and with equipment correctly sized for them. 

Additionally, the USTA, through its facilities assistance arm, is committed to constructing and renovating 3,000 tennis courts across the country in 2011. More than 600 tennis facilities participated in the USTA's third annual National Youth Registration initiative, a month-long event.  Tennis Night in America served as "opening day" for facilities to sign up children for spring and summer programs, with youth registration events around the country encouraging parents to get involved by volunteering and for everyone to learn more about tennis.

Lendl, Sampras Win on Monday Night at BNP Paribas Showdown

There was no lack of drama on Monday night when legendary rivals Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi, and John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl squared off during the BNP Paribas Showdown, broadcast on ESPN and celebrating the United States Tennis Association's (USTA) annual "Tennis Night in America."

McEnroe and Lendl
John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl shake hands following McEnroe's retirement (Photo: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
McEnroe and Lendl started out the evening, with a tournament-tested McEnroe, who has been competing on the senior tour virtually since his retirement, squaring off against a less-in-shape Lendl, whose career was cut short due to a back injury in 1994. The rivalry received a twist when McEnroe, warming up prior to the match with Sampras, turned his ankle in practice.

McEnroe with a heavily-taped ankle nonetheless jumped out to a 4-0 lead against Lendl, taking no prisoners in a rivalry that never lent itself to keeping matches close for the entertainment of fans. But McEnroe, limping more heavily as the match went on, closed out the first set at 6-2 before crossing to Lendl's chair, shaking hands in retirement as the ankle injury proved too difficult.

Taking to his sideline chair, McEnroe buried his head in his hands and wiped away tears, later in an on-court interview with ESPN's Patrick McEnroe voicing his disappointment in retiring in a match he had been long looking forward to.

"This meant so much to me to come play here," McEnroe said. "I was so psyched. I was hitting the ball clean in practice with Pete. I tried to do everything I could to get ready. I am so bummed right now, but at least I showed you I can still fit into my shorts circa 1985."

Lendl said he also put a great deal of preparation into the rivalry match.

"I've only been playing left-handers for the past three months to get ready," Lendl told the New York Times prior to the match. "John was unique, so it's tough to copy his style, but I'm at least seeing people hit from that angle. When I was playing on the tour, I didn't have time to prepare for just one match."

In the headlining match Sampras, like McEnroe, jumped out to a quick lead against Agassi at 3-0 until the baseline-scampering Agassi finally got on the board against the net-crashing Sampras. Sampras, later serving at 5-3, fought off some Agassi resistance to close out the first set.

In the second set Sampras went up an early break 2-1 after some Sampras big hitting off returns of serve forced an Agassi double fault on game point. A determined Agassi immediately broke back for 2-2, then held for 3-2. The set stayed on serve until 5-5, when Agassi played a poor, tension-filled game to drop serve and give Sampras the chance to serve it out at 6-5.

Sampras promptly served it out at love to claim the grudge match 6-3, 7-5.

"We got in a few great shots, enough to create a little nostalgia," Agassi said. "My hope was to not get injured...my most important [goal] was to come back and say hello to the people I love."

Sampras said he enjoyed watching the video highlights played between games and getting back on court with his rival and friend.

"It was exiting tonight to play Andre who is a friend and rival," Sampras said. "I think we played pretty well for a couple of old guys and hopefully I'll be back."

The event, a partnership between the USTA, event producers StarGames and MSG Sports, included a match court featuring 10 and Under Tennis 60-foot blended lines, utilized for 10 and under tennis players.

Blended lines are painted in a different, more subtle color than the traditional lines, enabling courts to be adapted for competitive play for younger children. These blended lines are a major component of the USTA's 10 and Under Tennis featuring the QuickStart Tennis play format.

Prior to the four Hall-of-Famers taking the court, local kids from the New York Junior Tennis League (NYJTL) took to the 60-foot blended line court for a 10 and Under Tennis exhibition, using the QuickStart Tennis play format. The concept of 10 and Under Tennis scales the game to size for its youngest participants, with slower-moving and lower-bouncing balls, lighter and smaller racquets, and shorter courts that make the game fun, easy to learn and easy to play, ensuring that kids will return to tennis again and again.   

"For years, other sports like soccer and baseball have had kids playing on smaller fields with kid-size equipment," said USTA Chairman of the Board and President Jon Vegosen. "We're doing the same thing with tennis. To have players like Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, John McEnroe, and Ivan Lendl competing on a court with blended lines is a huge step for the sport of tennis and a great way to showcase 10 and Under Tennis to the world." 

Sam Querrey and John Isner
Querrey Out for U.S. Davis Cup This Weekend vs. Chile

The USTA released a statement this past weekend regarding the injury status of U.S. Davis Cup team member Sam Querrey, who was scheduled to possibly compete for the U.S.

U.S. Davis Cup Captain Jim Courier revealed, "Sam has been having trouble with his right shoulder and he got an MRI on Friday that revealed a slight impingement in his rotator cuff. The doctors have advised him to rest, so we thought it was best that he not make the trip to Santiago and get ready for Indian Wells and Miami."

Andy Roddick, John Isner and the world's No. 1 doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan have been nominated to represent the U.S. in Chile. 

University of Virginia senior Michael Shabaz has joined 2009 Wimbledon boys' finalist Jordon Cox as U.S. practice partners.

Holy Comforter Episcopal School in Tallahassee Debuts 6 New Tennis Courts

Holy Comforter Episcopal School celebrated the opening of six new hard courts located on the Fleischmann Road campus during a Tennis Court Dedication Ceremony on Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011.

The ribbon-cutting event welcomed over 600 students, faculty, staff, parents and members of the tennis community to the HCES campus. HCES 5th grader Raymond Zins, and 8th grader Kelsie Grady were honored to cut the ribbon. HCES Athletic Director Frank Amidon spoke about the impact the new courts will have on both the school and local tennis community. At the conclusion of the ceremony, an exciting exhibition match featured FSU women's tennis Head Coach Jennifer Hyde; Holy Comforter Episcopal School Lower School Physical Education Instructor and Coach Trent Mills; FSU Men's Tennis Assistant Coach Nick Crowell; and Holy Comforter Episcopal School Athletic Director and Coach Frank Amidon. 

Ribbon cutting for the new courts
The new courts have been in full use since they opened. Amidon is currently teaching tennis to 75 5th-8th grade students. An after-school tennis class currently has 52 students in grades K-5 learning the game using QuickStart lines. HCES' competitive middle school tennis team, which has a no-cut policy for kids trying out, boasts 25 players. On Wednesday mornings a USTA women's league, led by HCES parent Ida Thompson, hosts approximately 30 women.

Three of the HCES courts feature QuickStart lines, partially funded by the United States Tennis Association (USTA) Florida section, for 10 and Under Tennis play. QuickStart allows children, such as the ones in the HCES after school class, the opportunity to improve their technique on smaller courts with smaller racquets and easier to hit balls.

"The QuickStart format of play is very important in teaching children 10 and under to play tennis because it emphasizes making tennis fun while giving them a positive experience in learning the game," said George English, former HCES parent and USTA Florida tennis program coordinator for the area. "The mission of USTA Florida is to grow the game of tennis, and using the QuickStart play format at Holy Comforter will help do just that."

For persons interested in QuickStart, please contact Sandy Layne at sandyquickstart@aol.com.






Print Article Email Article Newsletter Signup Share