Community Tennis Events Association w/ Federation Cup Competition
In April 2002, the North Carolina Tennis Association partnered with the Charlotte Tennis Association to host several successful youth events in conjunction with the US vs. Austria Fed Cup tie. Held at the Olde Providence Racquet Club, the US eventually lost 3-2 to a strong Austrian team, but the community tennis events provided the NCTA with a wonderful opportunity to expose thousands of kids to the game of tennis. The planned activities included USA School Assemblies, an essay contest, a tennis street festival, a tennis carnival, wheelchair clinics and high performance training for top juniors in the state. To promote the Fed Cup competition, the USA School Assemblies were done prior to the event with help from a network of NC state staffers, volunteers and local pros. Approximately 2,200 kids were introduced to the sport through the eight tennis assemblies. The essay contest asked kids to write a 300 word essay on one of two topics, “How Billie Jean King has impacted tennis” or “The Fed Cup as an International Event.” Two winners were selected and they were recognized on court during Fed Cup play. They each met Zina Garrison and received large tennis balls signed by the US Fed Cup team. The NC Tennis Association hosted on a tennis street festival was in downtown Charlotte. Over 120 school children took a break from their regular classes to play tennis. There was a doubles exhibition featuring local celebrities and nine tennis “stations” for the kids to practice their hitting, agility, eye and hand coordination. Local tennis pros and the nation’s top junior players ran the stations. The festival also included a “Center Court,” where kids lined up for their chance to win hats, t-shirts, posters and amusement park tickets. Just hours prior to the beginning of match play a tennis carnival was held featuring fun games, food, hit for prize courts and free Fed Cup tickets. Kids were brought in from local USA Team Tennis programs, multicultural programs, the Girl Scouts, Special Olympics and other after school enrichment programs. The carnival was complete with jugglers, face painters and all day tennis fun. Two wheelchair tennis clinics were held to demonstrate the sport to the kids. The final planned activity was the weekend long high performance training. Top NC junior players assemble in Charlotte to receive coaching and to practice against one another. The players had the opportunity to watch and learn from the Fed Cup team as they practiced. All of the events leading up to and during the competition were meticulously planned and attracted thousands of potential new players to the game.
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