US Open to feature youth tennis initiative

August 24, 2011

FLUSHING, N.Y. — The USTA today announced that 10 and Under Tennis will once again play an important role in the 2011 US Open, including a clinic with reigning US Open champion Rafael Nadal, an on-court demonstration of 10 and Under Tennis in Arthur Ashe Stadium and a full day of other fun-filled activities beginning on August 23.

Similar to other youth sports where equipment and playing fields are scaled to size for kids, 10 and Under Tennis provides the youngest players with the ability to achieve immediate success by playing tennis on smaller courts, using smaller and lighter racquets and slower-moving and lower-bouncing balls.

The 10 and Under Tennis activities officially kick-off during qualifying week. From August 23 – 26, instructors and local tennis pros will be manning two 10 and Under Tennis courts in the South Plaza to give kids pointers and educate their parents.

On Thursday, August 25 and in conjunction with the US Open Draw Ceremony, reigning US Open champion Rafael Nadal will appear at a 10 and Under Tennis clinic with kids from The Child Center of NY, a Queens-based organization whose mission is to help 18,000 at-risk children and youth each year succeed in life.

Families will have the opportunity to view and experience 10 and Under Tennis at Arthur Ashe Kids Day presented by Hess on Saturday, August 27. Two of the outer courts will be entirely dedicated to 10 and Under Tennis, and it will also be on display during one of the celebrity matches during the AAKD Stadium Show with players from Chicago and New York City taking on some of the top pros in the sport on a 60 foot court.

Kids and parents wanting to experience 10 and Under Tennis first hand can at SmashZone, the premier fan interactive attraction in tennis located in the Indoor Tennis Center. SmashZone will highlight 10 and Under programming with a number of 36 ft. courts for kids and their parents to use throughout the tournament. Back again will be the “Get Sized Right” racquet displays and other information designed to teach parents more about Kids Tennis.

On Family Day Tuesday August 30, for the first time ever, 10 and Under Tennis balls will be signed and hit into the crowd by the winning player following each match played. The balls that they will be hitting are lower compression balls that allow children under the age of 10 to hit them with more control, thus allowing tennis to be more fun.

Families will get a chance to pick up a racquet, work with USTA coaches, and experience the benefits of the play format for themselves when 10 and Under Tennis takes over Court 12 on Saturday, September 3 from 1:00-7:00 pm.

10 and Under Tennis will be on display on center court in Arthur Ashe Stadium with a demonstration featuring kids from tennis facilities in the New York City area prior to the night session on Thursday, September 8.

On Friday, September 9 a 10 and Under Clinic given by a special guest will be taking place in SmashZone involving local children from the Harlem Junior Tennis League and the New York Junior Tennis League both local National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) chapters.

Throughout the run of the tournament the USTA will be offering a free USTA Junior Membership to all children ages ten and under. The membership promotion is open to all first-time junior members until December 31, 2011. This special USTA membership offer will allow more kids to try USTA programming including USTA Junior Tournaments and USTA Jr. Team Tennis. All parents will need to do is stop by the USTA membership booth located near SmashZone.

“Tennis is the sport of opportunity. And there is no better opportunity to showcase the fun and excitement of 10 and Under Tennis than during the US Open—the world’s highest-attended annual sporting event,” said Jon Vegosen, USTA Chairman of the Board and President.

“The USTA is committed to growing the game at every level and we are excited that 10 and Under Tennis is a driving force to fostering new tennis players and hopefully new champions,” said Kurt Kamperman, Chief Executive, Community Tennis, USTA. “It’s never been easier to get young kids started in the sport of a lifetime, from our SmashZone Mobile Tour to the First Year Free Ten and Under Membership, we’re excited about the potential for growth of these young players.”