First Niagara Free Tennis Lesson Engages 300 New Haven School Children
Roger Federer (C, back) of Switzerland poses with children during a kids tennis camp as part of the Qatar ExxonMobil ATP Open Tennis tournament at the Khalifa Tennis and Squash Complex in Doha, Qatar, 03 January 2011. EPA/STRINGER |
Today, the New Haven Open at Yale presented by First Niagara conducted the 10th annual First Niagara Free Tennis Lesson for 300 first and second graders from the New Haven school district. For the first time in the history of the event, every youngster who participated received a free tennis racquet, courtesy of First Niagara. The New Haven Open is a WTA event that is part of the Olympus US Open Series to be held August 18-27, 2011 at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale.
“First Niagara is committed to helping children learn, grow and achieve their dreams,” said First Niagara Regional President David Ring, “We are proud to be the presenting sponsor of the New Haven Open at Yale and, in turn, support community tennis programs like the Free Tennis Lesson. It’s wonderful to be a part of a program in which local youth learn about a healthy lifestyle while still having fun on the tennis court!”
The Free Tennis Lesson utilized smaller courts and racquets as well as slower, lighter balls that are part of the USTA’s national “10 and Under Tennis” initiative utilizing the QuickStart format. This initiative is designed to help children develop proper strokes and allow young players to engage in rallies and have fun right from the start.
“Today’s First Niagara Free Tennis Lesson is just one example of how the New Haven Open’s strategy is to leverage the excitement of professional tennis to grow participation at the community level, especially among youth,” said Tournament Director Anne Worcester. “But it’s not all about creating tennis players, it’s about providing opportunities for kids that teach them the importance of fitness and making healthy choices in their lives.”
One example of the burgeoning tennis scene in New Haven is the local 8 & Under USTA Jr. Team Tennis Team, who were honored today during the Free Tennis Lesson. In their inaugural season in 2010, the NEW HAVEN STARS won the State Championship in the summer season and captured second place in the winter season. The team was created by and is part of New Haven Youth Tennis & Education, a non-profit organization that grew out of the tournament’s community outreach efforts and, which provides life-skills, mentoring, educational support and tennis programming to youth in New Haven.
At the end of the clinic, the kids also received cinch bags from Cornerstone Sponsor Aetna and tennis balls from USTA New England. All participants were encouraged to sign up for affordable summer tennis lessons through New Haven Parks & Rec. Thanks to a partnership among USTA New England, New Haven Open and Parks & Rec, New Haven youth have access to year-round tennis programs at affordable prices. To date, more than 5,000 New Haven youth have participated in these lessons.
Rafael Nadal got in some much-needed match practice on Monday ahead of his first-round singles match at the China Open, albeit in a losing effort. Nadal, who last played at Wimbledon before being sidelined by a wrist injury, teamed up with fellow Spaniard Pablo Andujar and fell to Tomas Berdych and John Isner 7-5, 4-6, 10-4.
Missing among all the great headlines at the Red Rock Pro Open in Las Vegas this week was how the 24-year-old worked her way through the draw without dropping a set, including a dominating performance on Sunday in a 6-1, 6-4 final win over rival Michelle Larcher De Brito of Portugal to capture the $7,600 winner singles check at the USTA Women’s $50,000 Pro Circuit event played at the Red Rock Country Club.
Rafael Nadal's first-round singles match against Richard Gasquet is not on Monday's China Open schedule, but the world No. 2 will be back in action in a different capacity. After being sidelined for three months with a wrist injury, Nadal is teaming up with Pablo Andujar in the doubles draw and they will kick off their campaign against Tomas Berdych and John Isner.
We exaggerate, slightly, but in all likelihood, this will be the week the WTA Race ends. Beijing is worth 1000 points, and it's mandatory, meaning that it's worth about twice as much to the players as every other event. And with the top nine players, minus Li Na, qualifying for Singapore, and a big, big gap between #9 and #10, chances are very good that things will be over after this.