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Miami Open, South Beach Kick Off Week of Kids Day Tennis Events

March 24, 2015 10:21 PM
The Miami Open and the City of Miami Beach Centennial events held simultaneous Kids Day events on Tuesday, March 24, featuring some of the biggest names in tennis along with hundreds of kids, adults and entire families joining in the on-court play.

At the Miami Open the entertainment ranged from a dancing Victoria Azarenka, the former No. 1 player in the world, to top American John Isner hitting lower-compression "orange balls" with kids. Coaching legend Nick Bollettieri was also on hand on the Grandstand stadium court, offering an inspirational speech to kids who afterwards took to the court to play through different tennis stations during Kids Day presented by Lexus at the Miami Open.

The early-morning event kicked off a week of on-court activities for kids, adults and families run by USTA Florida throughout the first week of the Miami Open.

"Every player should get involved in something like the Kids Day, it's very fun for me to see kids playing tennis at that very young age," Isner told USTA Florida. "When I was their size I was doing things like that."

The 84-year-old Bollettieri bluntly spoke to kids about maintaining their character, staying out of trouble, and realizing they have the ability to achieve from any station in life, advantaged or disadvantaged.

"I want them to come away with the message that they have hope to achieve in life," Bollettieri said. "They can make it, they can come through adversity, and no feeling sorry for themselves. It's not to go out and say 'I'm going to try and make it,' it's 'I will make it.'"

Kids, adults and entire families will have a chance to hit together on the mini-courts throughout the first week at the Miami Open.

Later on Tuesday, USTA Florida moved the Kids Day party to South Beach, where it hosted two courts set up on the beach as part of the City of Miami's Centennial Celebration. Tennis teaching pros and volunteers split the two courts into eight mini-courts as hundreds of kids played games and rallied with USTA Youth Tennis kid's-sized racquets, courts and lower-bouncing balls.

The courts were surrounded by elevated seating for fans for a later tennis exhibition by Milos Raonic, Donald Young and other ATP players, and from behind by a giant sound stage that as the week goes on will feature acts such as Gloria Estefan, Wyclef Jean and Barry Gibb.

"It's a unique event, and appropriate since tennis has been such a big part of Miami for such a long time," said USTA Florida Miami-area Tennis Program Coordinator Cathy Nordlund. "We had almost 100 volunteers between the two events. We are a volunteer-driven organization and that showed today, getting racquets in the hand of so many kids."

USTA Florida will continue to host an array of on-court play activities at the Miami Open through Sunday, March 29, showcasing play for youth and adults on two Interactive Courts next to the Grandstand. USTA Members are eligible for discounted tickets on Thursday, March 26, and are encouraged to stop by the USTA booth that day to join or renew their membership.

The week-long series of play events is part of USTA's March into Tennis campaign, focusing on the many opportunities for people to play tennis in communities across Florida.

To find a play event near you, visit www.USTAFlorida.com/events today.

For more information on Kids Day at the Miami Open go to www.miamiopen.com/en/schedule-and-events/kids-day.

For more information on the City of Miami Beach Centennial, visit www.MiamiBeach100.com.





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