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USTA FL Friday Blog: Venus Delights Elem. Students; Tennis on TV

April 19, 2013 10:22 AM
Venus_FedCup_kidsclinic1
Venus with after-school kids (photo: Alese Pechter)
U.S. FED CUP PLAYERS HAVE FUN WITH ELEM. STUDENTS IN DELRAY BEACH
U.S. Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez led a delegation that included Venus Williams, Sloane Stephens and Varvara Lepchenko in delighting elementary school students at the Pompey Park tennis program in Delray Beach with some instruction, play and goofing around earlier this week. Check out some video of Venus and crew with the kids, and these great pics.
 
The U.S. needs a win this weekend to get back in the Fed Cup World Group for 2014 to be eligible to capture the title again as the winningest nation in Fed Cup history. The U.S. Fed Cup team is 3-0 all-time in Florida. Play begins Saturday, April 20, at 2 p.m. at the Delray Beach Tennis Center, and tickets are still available at www.ticketmaster.com.
 
NEW YOUTH TENNIS STATS
You can see Venus and U.S. Fed Cup team playing with the kids in Delray Beach, utilizing the 10 and Under Tennis equipment -- smaller racquets, lower-bouncing, more controllable balls, and smaller court sizes and nets. What difference is 10 and Under Tennis making, besides creating an easier pathway into the game for children?
 
Over roughly the last 14 months the U.S. has seen a 13 percent increase in tennis participation from 6-11 year olds, a 38 percent increase in youth ball sale (red, orange, green-dot balls), a 100 percent participation increase in competition in the 10 and under age group, and a 120 percent increase in facilities that now offer 10 and Under Tennis programming. Through USTA grants, more than 10,000 courts nationwide are now lined for 36-foot or 60-foot play, or have been created solely for 10 and Under Tennis play. If the object is to get more kids on the court to create more players at the recreational level, and feeding into the high school, college, and possibly pro levels, then the revolution has begun. And it will be televised.
 
BELGIAN FED CUP WOES
As the U.S. Fed Cup team attempts to stay in the elite World Group for 2014, consider the once-mighty Belgian team and how fortunes can so quickly turn. Once boasting world No. 1s Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin and in the World Group a couple years ago, Belgium has lost four straight ties since the retirements of Clijsters and Henin, and is years removed from the World Group I, even if it went on a winning streak.
 
Now they are poised to drop into the minor-minor-minor leagues of Fed Cup as they face Poland without their top players -- who are protesting since the Belgian tennis Federation says it doesn't have enough money to build the court surface the players want for the tie.
 
TENNIS ON TV THIS WEEKEND
 
Friday
ATP Monte Carlo -- 6 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Tennis Channel
 
Saturday
ATP Monte Carlo -- 7 a.m.-noon, Tennis Channel
U.S. Fed Cup vs. Sweden -- 2-6 p.m., Tennis Channel
 
Sunday
ATP Monte Carlo -- 8 a.m.-1 p.m., Tennis Channel
U.S. Fed Cup vs. Sweden -- 1-7 p.m., Tennis Channel
 
Happy weekending,
 
 
The USTA Florida Friday blog is written by USTA Florida Communications Coordinator Rick Vach. Want a USTA or tennis-related question answered in the blog? To e-mail him CLICK HERE
 
 
 
 
 

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