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Clearwater Family Tennis Festival to Kick Off US Open Playoffs-Florida; Win 4 US Open Tickets

May 10, 2012 08:12 AM
us open playoffs 2012
While the adults and players age 14 and older pursue dreams of qualifying for (or just participating in the road to) the US Open, kids of all ages, plus their parents and grandparents, can participate in a Family Tennis Festival to be held on Saturday, May 26, 2012, in conjunction with the start of the US Open National Playoffs-Florida tournament.

Both events will be held at the Henry L. McMullen Tennis Complex in Clearwater, Fla., on May 26, with the Family Tennis Festival held from 9 a.m. to noon.

The Family Tennis Festival will feature various levels of play on different courts, court activities and games, the 10 and Under Tennis format, a short-court game for senior players, cardio tennis, face painting, cookie-making, snacks and drinks, and a DJ spinning kid-friendly hits. There will also be free t-shirts and give-aways, and in the spirit of the US Open Playoffs-Florida, a raffle where one festival-goer will win four tickets to the 2012 US Open in Flushing Meadows, NY.

"The Family Tennis Festival is going to be a great morning of fun-filled activities for children and parents alike," says USTA Florida Tennis Program Coordinator for the Tampa area Carla Williams. "Most importantly, exposing kids to 10 and Under Tennis ensures that tennis will become a sport they can love and play for a lifetime. I'd encourage all parents and children to attend the festival and experience 10 and Under Tennis firsthand. I promise you'll enjoy seeing them smile and have fun as much as I do."

10 and Under Tennis features the right-sized equipment for kids age 10 and under, utilizing smaller, lighter racquets and softer, lower-bouncing balls, and kid-sized nets and court sizes.
The US Open National Playoffs allows any player 14 years or older, rated at any level, the chance to earn a wildcard into the main draw qualifying of the US Open in men's or women's singles, or a wildcard into the main draw in mixed doubles. Players from former pros to USTA League players and juniors of all levels and abilities participate annually in the event, which is in its third year.

"Just to be able to have the US Open accessible to anyone, with a chance to play at the US Open, is a great thing," says Tampa resident Ryler DeHeart, who faced Rafael Nadal at the 2008 US Open, and will compete in this year's US Open Playoffs-Florida in singles and mixed doubles with his wife. "I just felt that the US Open was the 'People's Slam.' Now pretty much anybody can play in the tournament and feel like they have a chance to qualify for the US Open, it's pretty cool."

10 and Under Tennis is creating a whole new generation of players in the U.S., introducing kids to tennis in a fun format rather than with the frustration of regular tennis balls that bounce over their heads, heavy adult-sized racquets and too much court for little legs to cover.

For more information on the Clearwater Family Tennis Festival, contact Laura Bowen at (386) 671-8930 or bowen@florida.usta.com.






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