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Orlando Grand Prix Tennis Expands with USTA Florida 'Share the Love' Grant

August 30, 2010 08:42 AM
Henner Lenhardt and students
The Orlando Grand Prix, the series of one-day round robin tennis events for children throughout Central Florida that exposes players to competitive introductory-level events, has received a 'Share the Love' grant from USTA Florida to expand the circuit of tournaments.

Henner Lenhardt, head tennis professional at Interlachen Country Club in Winter Park, initiated the grant and is commissioner of the Orlando Grand Prix circuit. The circuit is played at facilities including Red Bug Lake Park, Sanlando Park, WP Tennis Center, Country Club of Orlando, Winter Park High School, Lake Cane Tennis Center, and the Orlando Tennis Center.

"In Central Florida, our goal is to bring together schools, tennis organizations, public and private facilities, and the best coaches in the community to grow the great sport of tennis," said Lenhardt, who last year helped organize the Central Florida High School/USTA Jr. Team Tennis Conference, a "no-cut program" where junior varsity (JV) students, and kids who might otherwise not make JV teams, compete against each other in a season that runs concurrently with the varsity tennis season. "The Grand Prix, which is entering its fifth year, is committed to introducing competitive tennis to the novice junior player."

Lenhardt says the Orlando Grand Prix averaged 30 players per event last season, and he looks to increase participation to 50 players per event.

"There is a need to make an introductory tennis event that is competitive, educational and more abbreviated than a regular sanctioned event," Lenhardt said. "This addresses the need to promote the great game of tennis at the community level in a fun, friendly, competitive and timely manner. I hope to create a positive first experience for players so they will make tennis their sport of a lifetime."

USTA Florida's "Share the Love" campaign is a $500,000 initiative on top of the organization's regular annual giving to help fund tennis programs and projects throughout Florida communities during challenging economic times. Funding priorities for the USTA Florida 'Share the Love' initiative include QuickStart Tennis and Jr. Team Tennis (coordinator training, start-up, etc.), public facility funding (schools, parks, conversion to QuickStart courts, etc.), community tennis awareness (innovative pro-active start-ups, program expansion), school programs and senior tennis programs/projects.

"We look forward to hearing of the further success with these round robin events for junior players in Central Florida," said USTA Florida Director of Community Tennis Linda Curtis. "USTA Florida appreciates Henner's efforts in promoting and developing tennis in the Orlando area. It is with USTA membership dollars that we are able to offer program grants to communities like these."

Share the Love grant applications are still being accepted by USTA Florida at www.USTASharetheLove.com, or questions can be e-mailed to grants@florida.usta.com. For more information on QuickStart Tennis in Florida CLICK HERE. For more information about the Orlando Junior Grand Prix, go to www.jrgrandprixtennis.com.





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