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Memphis Community Celebrates Announcement of Memphis Tennis Week


Memphis Community Celebrates Announcement of Memphis Tennis Week

MEMPHIS, Tenn., October 25, – The journey to the 41st year of world-class professional tennis in Memphis officially launched today with an event joining The Memphis Open, the Mayor of Memphis, the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee Health Foundation, Shelby County Schools, and the United States Tennis Association. Highlighting the event was a friendly game of junior tennis between executives and school officials against the recent graduates of a tennis-in-the-schools physical education program at John P. Freeman School (grades 1-8). The event served as a launch toward Tennis Week in Memphis, Feb. 11-19, 2017.


In celebration of the continued success of the Memphis Open and its growing integration into and importance to the community, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland has officially proclaimed the tournament week as Tennis Week in Memphis.


“For 41 years, this tournament has meant more to our city’s reputation than people can ever quantify. Now more than ever, the Memphis Open is engaged with our community and is providing unique opportunities for our young people. It is high time that week is officially designated as Tennis Week in Memphis,” said Strickland.  


“The Memphis Open is more than just a week of fans watching world-class tennis professionals at the Racquet Club,” said Jerry Solomon, President of GF Sports, owners of the Memphis Open. “We are honored to be designated Tennis Week in Memphis because it represents a time when all of the tennis world is focused on the city and when we as a tournament make tennis the center of attention for fans, kids, and those just interested in high quality entertainment and community engagement.”


“While our activities culminate each year with 10 days of professional tennis and a great entertainment experience for fans, today’s activities highlight how integrated this tournament is in Memphis from a play, health, entertainment and business engagement perspective,” added Erin Mazurek, tournament director for the Memphis Open.


The USTA and Shelby County Schools have been dedicated to bringing tennis back into the schools as a platform for health, discipline and fun since 2014. This year, enabled by a sponsorship by the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee Health Foundation and the Memphis Open, that program has been greatly enhanced with the Memphis Open All Stars. Now, schools who have completed their tennis curriculum in the physical education classes, which is supported by USTA Tennessee through training for the teachers and equipment loans, may apply for a field trip spot. A field trip means a ticket to the actual tournament. Up to four schools per day, over the course of five days February 13-17, will mean some 500 students are able to attend.


All schools earning a field trip spot will also receive a permanent tennis equipment kit for their school to continue to offer tennis to their students beyond the two-week program, courtesy of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee Health Foundation. Additionally, also thanks to the Foundation, each child attending the field trip program will be given their own personal racquet to take home and continue their tennis education with after-school programs available in their area.


“We are proud to be able to work with the Memphis Open to take tennis education to a new level and to help these kids witness firsthand what tennis at the highest level is all about,” said Calvin Anderson, SVP & Chief of Staff at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee. “Who knows, some of kids who get their introduction to tennis through Memphis Open All Stars may someday play in the tournament themselves.”


 “This kind of corporate support and community engagement by the Memphis Open is precedent setting for communities across the country,” added Tracy Davies, Executive Director of USTA Tennessee for the USTA.


John P. Freeman Optional School is just one of dozens of Shelby County Schools participating in the USTA tennis-in-the-schools initiative.


For more photos from the event, click here!


About Memphis Open Presented by ServiceMaster

The Memphis Open is one of the longest-running American tournaments on the ATP World Tour and the only indoor ATP event contested in the United States is scheduled to play its 41st year on February 11-19, 2017 at the Racquet Club of Memphis. Individual tickets will go on-sale to the general public on November 2, 2016 at MemphisOpen.com.

Men’s champions have included a “Who’s Who” of the tennis world: Andre Agassi, Jimmy Connors, Bjorn Borg, Jim Courier, Stefan Edberg, Ivan Lendl, John McEnroe, Andy Roddick and Pete Sampras. Doubles champions include three of the greatest tandems of the Open era: Bob and Mike Bryan, Ken Flach and Robert Seguso, and Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde, among others.

About GF Sports

After the successful completion of the Memphis Open presented by ServiceMaster in February 2015, GF Sports, LLC, a newly formed integrated event content company, formed by the New York-based financial management company GF Capital Private Equity Fund, and its founder Gary Fuhrman, along with long time sports executive, Jerry Solomon and his Lynnfield-based company, StarGames acquired the Tournament. GF Sports has committed to reinvigorating the Memphis Open brand and bringing back the love so many local, regional and national fans have enjoyed over the last 40 years.

About BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation, Inc.

The BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation, Inc. was established in December, 2003 as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation organized to promote the philanthropic mission of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. The foundation awards grants focused on high-impact initiatives across the state, which promote healthy lifestyle choices and help control health care costs for all Tennessee residents. Working with civic and economic partners, the foundation is dedicated to the support of research, innovative programs and creative approaches to improve the health and quality of life of Tennesseans for generations to come.


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