USTA Announces Partnership with ThanksUSA

September 7, 2020

The USTA announced a partnership with ThanksUSA, a national charity that supports military families through education. The partnership was announced on US Open “Lt. Joe Hunt Military Appreciation Day.”

The purpose of the partnership program is to provide the opportunity for disabled veterans and service members to achieve therapeutic benefits and improve their overall health and well-being through adaptive tennis participation. Tennis is a sport that can promote physical stamina, encourage team dynamics, improve skills both on & off the court, and the program will also engage in community involvement through disability awareness exhibitions. These keys of wellness will help veterans reintegrate into their community after leaving the care of the military, returning home to a potentially fuller and more productive life.

American tennis player, France Tiafoe serves as an ambassador of ThanksUSA’s Tennis Corps, a premiere tennis mentoring program for military veterans and junior players and works with vets and juniors when training at the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park, Maryland. “I love playing tennis with the veterans because they love it,” said Tiafoe. “I swear we spend more time laughing than playing. I can’t get the smile off my face.”

“One of the most memorable days at the US Open every year is Military Appreciation Day, and we could not be more excited than we are to be able to announce this partnership with ThanksUSA,” said Joanne Wallen, Director, Adult Competition, USTA. “This partnership allows the USTA to bring the sport for a lifetime to those that might not have thought of tennis as a means to get active and improve their overall health.”

“ThanksUSA and the USTA’s combined passions for the military and tennis are a perfect fit to promote optimal health and functioning for disabled veterans,” said Jean Pletchette, ThanksUSA’s Director of Sports Initiatives. “Through our partnership with the USTA, we are excited to share ThanksUSA’s Tennis Corps model to tennis providers across the country.”

Last year the US Open’s annual Military Appreciation Day was named in honor of Lt. Joe Hunt. Hunt, who won the U.S. Nationals in 1943 by beating Jack Kramer while on leave from the Navy, was killed when his Navy fighter plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean in February 1945. He is the only U.S. Nationals or US Open champion to lose his life in service to his country.

The US Open Lt. Joe Hunt Military Appreciation Day is traditionally held on Labor Day Monday, with ceremonies throughout the day and evening sessions in Arthur Ashe Stadium.