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Westside Elementary to Celebrate Tennis 1st in State of Florida

May 6, 2013 01:32 PM

USTA Florida to unveil new "Tennis Courts for All Ages" at Westside Elementary with former pros MaliVai Washington and Todd Martin, celebrating first school with permanent kids' courts

Westside Elementary School in Daytona Beach has become the first school in the state of Florida to feature permanent 36-foot courts (four) along with a lined 60-foot kid-sized court on the school campus. USTA Florida, the USTA Florida Section Foundation, and Volusia County Schools will celebrate with a Grand Opening Play Day on Friday, May 24, 2013, featuring a Wimbledon and a US Open finalist.
westside_elem_36-foot_courtsFrom 8:30-9 a.m., Wimbledon finalist MaliVai Washington and US Open and Australian Open finalist Todd Martin will be available for interviews and photo opportunities. Washington is the founder of the long-running MaliVai Washington Kids Foundation and after-school program in Jacksonville. Martin, who has a track record of working with high-performance juniors as well as coaching pros Novak Djokovic and Mardy Fish, recently founded the Todd Martin Tennis Academy in Ponte Vedra Beach.
At 9 a.m. the introductory program will feature Volusia County Schools Superintendent Dr. Margaret A. Smith, Volusia County Schools Board Chairwoman Diane Smith, Westside Elementary Principal Judy Winch, and USTA Florida Executive Director Doug Booth, as well as Martin and Washington, and will be followed by on-court demonstrations and play.
"USTA Florida is so excited to partner with Westside Elementary and their Westside Night Alive program to provide age-appropriate tennis courts for the 10-and-under children at the school," Booth said. "Westside is the only school in Florida to have permanent 36-foot courts, along with a 60-foot court and a traditional 78-foot court so all age groups will now be playing on age-appropriate courts at the school. We hope we can duplicate this at other schools throughout Florida."
The USTA 10 and Under Tennis format allows smaller children to emulate adult play on smaller court sizes, with racquet sizes that fit their hands, foam and low-compression balls, a simple scoring system, all adjusted to ease kids into the sport. Similar mini-tennis formats have long been popular in Europe, where stars such as Roger Federer and Kim Clijsters first learned the game with age-adjusted racquets, balls and court sizes.
The courts are made possible through a $3,000 grant to Westside Elementary from the USTA Florida Section Foundation, which offers state-wide funding for youth tennis programs, adaptive tennis programs for those with special needs, community tennis programs in economically-challenged areas, and facility assistance in the renovation, refurbishment and building of quality public tennis facilities. USTA Florida is working with the school to start tennis programs and Kids Tennis Clubs, and students are currently participated in a membership challenge, encouraging each class to talk to kids and parents in the community about participating in USTA Florida tennis programs. The winning class will be announced at the event and will receive a pizza party.
Westside Elementary School is located at 1210 Jimmy Ann Dr., Daytona Beach, Fla., 32117.
For questions or additional event information contact Molly Zimmer, USTA Florida Tennis Program Coordinator, at zimmer@florida.usta.com.





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