Kids Free at the ITHF in 2010

December 30, 2009

NEWPORT, R.I. — The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum is pleased to announce that all children ages 16 and under will be offered complimentary admission in 2010. All youth admissions for the year ahead have been underwritten through funds raised specifically for this purpose at the Hall of Fame Legends Ball, an annual fundraising event held in New York City during the US Open.

Through the Kids Free program, the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum looks forward to encouraging youth interest in tennis and to welcoming families, schools and youth groups in 2010. In addition to free admission, the Hall of Fame has established a Field Trip Grant Program through which schools, camps and other kids groups may apply for funds to cover transportation costs. Complimentary admission for all children will be offered January 1, 2010 – December 31, 2010.

“It was my pleasure to support the International Tennis Hall of Fame in such a worthwhile initiative. Tennis changed my life and I was lucky to discover the game at a young age,” said 2009 Hall of Famer and nine-time Grand Slam champion Monica Seles, who is one of many Hall of Famers funding the program. “I hope that visiting the Museum will inspire young people to see opportunities in tennis and the potential that exists when someone really commits oneself to following a dream.”

At the Legends Ball, Seles and her fellow Hall of Famers, as well as many others in the tennis industry contributed more than $30,000 for the purpose of providing children the opportunity to visit the Hall of Fame, with the goal of encouraging youth interest in the sport of tennis.

“The Kids Free fundraiser is a new initiative for the Hall of Fame and we are grateful for the positive response that we received from supporters of the project. Their generosity will enable us to welcome more children than ever before to enjoy the museum’s exhibits, the historic grounds and to participate in special activities,” said Mark L. Stenning, CEO of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum. “We hope parents, teachers and coaches will take advantage of this opportunity to showcase tennis and its fascinating history to kids.” Complementing the Hall of Fame’s extensive collection of tennis memorabilia, a variety of activities tailored to kids are available. Daily, kids can view exciting video clips that highlight the best shots and matches in recent history and can participate in the Hall of Fame scavenger hunt, which encourages kids to carefully examine the collections on display.

On select days, the Hall of Fame will offer QuickStart Tennis, a USTA developed program that uses special equipment to introduce the game to kids. Wii tennis, tennis crafts and other activities will also be available on select days. Throughout the year, the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum will continue to offer special events for kids and families such as QuickStart Tennis, Nintendo Wii and more during the Newport Winter Festival (February 12 – 21, 2010), an Easter Egg Hunt through the Museum on April 3, 2010 and Family Weekend, a full weekend featuring the Rossetti Brothers, who hold the Guinness Book of World Records title for the longest tennis rally, QuickStart tennis, face-painting, old-fashioned tennis photos, tennis arts and crafts and much more to be held July 3 & 4, 2010. “The Museum is an exciting place for families and children of all ages to explore the game’s rich history in an educational and entertaining way,” said Doug Stark, museum director.

“By offering free admission to all children in 2010, we hope children will be inspired by the game’s traditions to become life-long players.”

The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum is the world’s largest museum dedicated to the sport of tennis, and owns the world’s largest collection of tennis memorabilia. In the museum, kids will be awed by tennis gear worn by modern stars like Roger Federer and Kim Clijsters, and will certainly be intrigued by historic pieces such as tennis dresses and lace up boots worn to play the sport in the 19th century. In addition, the museum features annual exhibits to honor recent Hall of Fame inductees. With more than 50 trophies on display, one current exhibit chronicles the life of Class of 2009 Hall of Famer Monica Seles from her upbringing in Yugoslavia to her career as a No. 1 player and winner of nine career Grand Slam tournaments.

In addition to the museum, kids visiting the Hall of Fame will be privy to the remarkable grounds and venue. The Hall of Fame is housed in the Newport Casino, a National Historic Landmark which was constructed in 1881 by the famed architectural firm of McKim, Mead and White and it is one of the world’s finest examples of Victorian Shingle-Style architecture. The grounds also feature 13 grass tennis courts, which were utilized in 1881 for the first U.S. National Lawn Tennis Championships, an event that evolved into the US Open.

The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum looks forward to welcoming families, schools and youth programs in 2010. The Museum is open daily from 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. School groups, camps and other youth groups are encouraged to contact Anne Marie McLaughlin at the International Tennis Hall of Fame at 401-324-6033 or [email protected] for details on how to plan a visit.