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Tennis Takes Over Miami Dolphins Game During 'Tenis para Todos'

November 18, 2013 12:53 PM
It was miniature Dolphins uniforms on the court rather than the traditional tennis whites when USTA Florida's Hispanic outreach initiative, Tenis para Todos, featured mini-tennis courts inside the tailgating section of the Miami Dolphins' Sun Life Stadium on Nov. 17, 2013.

From noon-4 p.m., youth groups and individuals just passing by with parents stopped to try tennis on the 36-foot courts with modified 10 and Under Tennis equipment for smaller children. USTA Florida's Tenis para Todos, through events and facility programming, brought numerous events and activities to Hispanic communities throughout Central and South Florida in 2013, with event planning to expand in 2014.

An estimated 500-750 children, many for the first time, played tennis prior to the Dolphins game and received free gifts and t-shirts, while parents received information on local play opportunities and parent resources available through USTA Florida and www.ustaflorida.com. Parent content included info on raising "principle-centered athletes who win at life, not just at sports," through USTA Florida's partnership with David Benzel and the "Growing Champions for Life" web content. 

Adult Nelson Sandedro couldn't stay off the mini-courts, hitting with friends and kids using the kid-friendly 10 and Under Tennis format, featuring smaller racquets and slower, lower-bouncing balls.

"I'm a Dolphins fan and this is great, tennis and football hand in hand," said Sandedro, a tennis teaching pro from the Lake Cane Tennis Center in Orlando, who was a winner in the USTA Florida Facebook content for free tickets. "It's a great concept. It really gives a chance for kids who don't have the talent or the coordination to get started and build it. It's a great tool."

Santiago Olaguibel from nearly Palmetto Bay watched his 13-year-old son, Ethan, who had rarely played tennis, hitting long rallies with other kids.

"He had fun, he was practicing with one of the volunteers here and playing with the other kids and he liked it," Olaguibel said.

Ethan added, "I hadn't really played tennis before, not really," Ethan said. "It was fun, I could play more, yeah."

The event at the Joe Robbie Tailgating entrance offered four short courts with the USTA's 10 and Under Tennis format, using racquets, balls and courts that are sized right for kids so that they enjoy the game from the start. Winners of game tickets at previous Tenis para Todos events joined the activities, with USTA Florida volunteers, staff and contest winners sitting in the same section of the stadium to watch the game afterwards.

"USTA Florida's presence at the Miami Dolphins games signifies the capstone of scheduled Tenis para Todos events in 2013," said USTA Florida Diversity & Marketing Coordinator Maria Romo-Jackson. "The Hispanic outreach initiative will resume in 2014, with play opportunities and more events in Central and South Florida, to continue inviting all Hispanic communities throughout the state to enjoy the wonderful sport of tennis."

For more event or program information visit the Tenis para Todos website at www.tenisparatodos.com/eventos or the USTA Florida website at www.ustaflorida.com/events.





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