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Visit to US Open on Labor Day gives KCTL kids taste of pro tennis
4 September, 2017 – The sights and sounds of the U.S. Open at the National Tennis Center in Flushing are unmistakable: trains coming from the 7 subway and LIRR, burgers on a grill, the pop of a ball hitting a sweet spot.
On Labor Day, eight kids from the Kings County Tennis League (KCTL) saw and heard everything the Open has to offer, including the players’ tunnel and the practice courts, as the USTA hosted tennis standouts from the region for its Net Generation program kickoff. In addition to running drills and learning strategy, the students and parents were given a grounds pass to watch a full day of tennis around the Flushing campus, including Round-of-16 and doubles matches.
“Our KCTL students participated in an on-court demonstration, warmed up and rallied on court 17 –which is one of the show courts at The Open – before the first match of the day, and saw everything from a player’s perspective,” said David Webley, the program manager at KCTL. “The kids did us proud, showing great signs of sportsmanship and discipline and getting a taste of the adrenaline felt by professionals before they play their matches!”
The U.S. Open event topped off a summer of growth for the program that brings tennis to kids that living in the housing developments of Bedford Stuyvesant. KCTL launched two new programs: Go Girls Go, which focuses on girls’ tennis development, and Upswing, which gives extra instruction and court time to students with an aptitude toward and love of the sport. The tennis league also registered over 150 students into its core curriculum, renovated two tennis surfaces at Tompkins Houses and Sumner Houses and led extra-curricular activities, including a pasta making class.
On Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day before the start of the Open, the USTA introduced Net Generation, a new kid-friendly approach to tennis with the aim of inspiring the next generation of young tennis players. Net Generation gathers all American tennis programs under one unified youth brand, making it easier for children and their parents to learn about tennis and develop their games in schools, parks and tennis clubs across the country. The movement embraces all aspects of youth play for kids ages 5-18.
“It is essential to implement the best infrastructure and environment for the current and future generation of kids,” said Katrina Adams, USTA Chairman of the Board, CEO and President. “Net Generation will help further our commitment to encouraging healthy lifestyles and bringing more children into the game by reaching kids and parents in a dynamic and easier way than ever before.”
KCTL and the USTA have partnered on several fronts, including the renovation of several tennis courts in the Bedford-Stuyvesant Neighborhood of Brooklyn.
“The USTA has helped open up a lot of opportunities for our kids,” Webley said. “We couldn’t do it with them.”
About KCTL: Kings County Tennis League (KCTL) is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit that uses tennis as an instrument for youth development and community building in underserved neighborhoods in Brooklyn, NY. KCTL currently has five clubs reaching more than 100 children under its direction: Marcy, Tompkins, Sumner, Jackie Robinson and Lafayette Gardens.