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Tennis Briefs: USTA Grant for Budget-strapped Tallahassee School Tennis; U.S. Hopman Cup Win

January 10, 2011 10:01 AM
Budget-strapped Tallahassee School Expands Tennis Through USTA Florida Grant

School budgets, especially to keep kids active in physical education classes, continue to dwindle in the current economic climate, but the children at Community Christian School in Tallahassee will see their curriculum expand to tennis after receiving a "Share the Love" grant for 10-and-Under Tennis equipment from the United States Tennis Association-Florida (USTA Florida) in January 2011.

From left: Physical Education teacher Monica Lassiter and Community Christian School Elementary Principal Ginny Schoolfield
"The staff expressed gratitude and excitement in receiving the $1,000 'Share the Love' equipment grant, which will allow the school to expand its physical education curriculum for its nearly 200 elementary students," said Sandy Layne, the USTA Florida Jr. Team Tennis local league coordinator for 10-and-Under Tennis. "Additionally, having an expanded tennis program will further develop the school's students for the middle and high school competitive teams."

Community Christian School parents Joni Macri and Diane Kobes volunteered in a 10-and-Under Tennis league at the City of Tallahassee's Winthrop Park where their children were involved in USTA league play, which developed into assisting coach Monica Lassiter in her efforts to grow tennis at the school. School tennis advocates look to paint lines on the existing blacktop to add eight weeks of tennis to the elementary physical education program, and eventually begin 10-and-Under Tennis leagues.

The 10-and-under Tennis play format is designed for children featuring smaller court sizes, racquet sizes, foam and decompressed balls, a simple scoring system, and net heights adjusted to ease kids into the sport. Similar mini-tennis formats have long been popular in Europe, where current stars such as Roger Federer, Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters first learned the game with age-adjusted racquets, balls and court sizes. To see a video of the 10-and-under Tennis play format in action go to: http://10andundertennis.usta.com.

"This grant will allow for eventual after-school activities as well," said Layne, who added that the school serves the children from 20 churches.

USTA Florida annually directs 90% of member dollars back into the community to support tennis programs and projects throughout Florida. USTA Florida's Share the Love grant program helps fund tennis programs and projects throughout Florida communities during challenging economic times. Funding priorities include 10-and-under Tennis and Jr. Team Tennis (coordinator training, start-up, etc.), public facility funding (schools, parks, conversion to permanent 10-and-under play format 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 future success of tennis at Community Christian School," said USTA Florida Director of Community Tennis Linda Curtis. "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 the 10-and-Under Tennis play format in Florida, go to www.ustaflorida.com.

U.S. Defeats Belgium to Claim 6th Hopman Cup

Florida's Saddlebrook-based John Isner and former Floridian Bethanie Mattek-Sands won the Hopman Cup with a 2-1 win over Belgium on Sunday.

Justine Henin defeated Mattek-Sands 7-6(3), 6-3 in the first match, but Isner posted a 6-3, 6-4 win over Ruben Bemelmans to tie the final at 1-1. The U.S. then won the mixed doubles 6-3, 6-4 to claim victory in Australia.

isner and mattek-sands 2011 hopman cup paul kane getty images
John Isner and Bethanie Mattek-Sands (photo: Paul Kane/Getty Images)
"It's been an amazing week," Mattek-Sands said. "It's my first time in Perth and I've really enjoyed myself. There was a really strong field this year, there was great players; Ana [Ivanovic], Justine, [Novak] Djokovic, [Lleyton] Hewitt."

Isner rebounded from a loss to Andy Murray in the Americans' final round robin match against Britain.

"I've got to thank Bethanie; her back's got to be hurting from carrying me all week," Isner said. "She was rock solid all week long. I kind of got a whooping yesterday [against Murray], but I regrouped and played very well today which is really, really encouraging. Also I want to say congrats to the Belgium team. It's a great team we beat today."

The U.S. is the Hopman Cup's most successful nation with a 6-5 record in finals. They have now captured the title in 2011 (Mattek-Sands and Isner), 1997 (Chanda Rubin and Justin Gimelstob), 2003 (Serena Williams and James Blake), 2004 (Lindsay Davenport and Blake), 2006 (Lisa Raymond and Taylor Dent), and 2008 (Serena Williams and Mardy Fish).






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