Bryan Leads Tennis Night In America Clinics

March 3, 2009 12:23 PM

America’s tennis party rolled across clubs and parks throughout the South Monday as the first Tennis Night In America sparked a unique national celebration. From New York’s Madison Square Garden where Serena Williams won the Billie Jean King Cup over three top women players to every state in USTA Southern and the nation, tennis was the focus of the USTA’s unique, first-time promotion.

Wayne Bryan, tennis promoter and father of the world’s No. 1 doubles team – Mike and Bob Bryan – got young players amped up in one of dozens of QuickStart and other clinics throughout the section. Bryan visited the Midtown Athletic Club at Windy Hill in Atlanta and brought his special brand of enthusiasm, loquaciousness and expertise to the club’s four indoor courts.

Sporting Tennis Night In America hats over some pretty small heads, children as young as 4 sped through running and hitting drills. Nearly 50 youngsters scampered around the courts and worked on their tennis skills under the watchful eyes of Tennis Director Alejandro Garcia and his team of teaching pros. The clinic employed equipment for QuickStart, a format of the USTA Jr. Team Tennis program, including foam and low compression balls and shorter nets designed for younger players.

Bryan, the proud dad whose sons are competing for the U.S. Davis Cup team versus Switzerland this weekend in Birmingham, Ala., couldn’t help but joke with the crowd of players and parents. “If your parents are not taking you to the Davis Cup which is only two-and-a-half hours away, I want you to call the police chief and the district attorney. Because that is child abuse!” The humor might have gone over the heads of the kids, but their parents sure broke out in laughter.

“Tennis Night In America is a great night and a great program,” Bryan said. “Look at these kids out here, enjoying tennis and having fun. This is a game they will grow into, a sport of a lifetime.

“I believe in team sports and that’s what QuickStart and the USTA’s Jr. Team Tennis is all about. Tennis makes a great team sport with great spirit. Other sports like baseball and basketball are about teams and the kids love that aspect of the game. But, tennis is even better because it teaches sportsmanship. We have to call our own shots. Imagine that in other sports.”

“We are very happy to have Wayne here,” Garcia said. “He brings a lot of energy to the clinics and the kids are having a lot of fun.” Bryan ran three clinics through the day, thanks to the efforts of USTA Georgia.

Here's the breakdown of states and number of facilities schedule to host great events on Tennis Night in America:

· Alabama: 7

· Arkansas: 21

· Georgia: 24

· Kentucky: 4

· Louisiana: 11

· Mississippi: 7

· North Carolina: 49

· South Carolina: 22

· Tennessee: 9

In New York City, Serena Williams defeated her sister, Venus, 6-4, 6-3 in the inaugural Billie Jean King Cup final. Serena and Venus advanced after eliminating Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic, respectively, in one-set semifinals.

 

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