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Fila and USTA Foundation Collaborate to Launch Spirit of Tennis Scholarships

FILA is investing in junior tennis.

FILA announced today the launch of the “Spirit of Tennis Scholarships” in support of the USTA Foundation, a pair of scholarship opportunities available to qualified students participating in the National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) Network – which features nearly 300 nonprofit youth development organizations that offer free or low-cost tennis and education programming to under-resourced youth nationwide.

In addition to two new annual scholarships, FILA has pledged additional funds to support the USTA Foundation’s Excellence Program through a dedicated Player Grant and additional product offerings for the NJTL program. Through these initiatives, FILA will contribute $180,000 over the course of four years.

The Spirit of Tennis Scholarships were created to provide access and opportunity to students through the NJTL Network and are named in honor of the two individuals who helped FILA establish its roots in tennis: Former President of FILA North America Jonathan G. Epstein and current Global Tennis Marketing Executive Martin Mulligan Sr.

“FILA is proud to support the USTA Foundation and continue our support of the National Junior Tennis and Learning Network (NJTL),” said Jennifer Estabrook, President of FILA North America. “The Foundation’s commitment to enabling greater access and opportunity for students across the US is a vision we share, and we are thrilled to name these scholarships in honor of two of FILA’s greatest advocates of the sport.”

Jennifer Capriati wears Fila at Wimbledon. EPA PHOTO EPA/GERRY PENNY

“The USTA Foundation is grateful to have a supporter like FILA, an outstanding mission-driven contributor, to help us continue to empower under-resourced youth through the powerful combination of tennis and education,” said Dan Faber, USTA Foundation’s Chief Executive. “The Spirit of Tennis Scholarships will have a great impact in the future of our NJTL youth and we look forward to seeing all the great things these young leaders will accomplish on and off the court.”

The “Spirit of Tennis Scholarships” will be awarded on an annual basis to two high school seniors who have high academic achievements, and demonstrate good character, community leadership and sportsmanship. The students should have participated in an organized youth tennis program, and are entering a four-year college or university program. Applicants must demonstrate sportsmanship on and off the court.

Each scholarship recipient will receive $15,000 over the course of four years to cover costs of tuition, school-based expenses, and educational materials. The Foundation will award the scholarships annually through 2026 through FILA’s support of this program.

FILA has also pledged an additional $15,000 per year through 2026 to support NJTLs through a dedicated Player Grant and additional product offerings for the NJTL program. These funds will support individuals in the NJTL Excellence Program through lessons, tournament entry fees, and FILA product to provide opportunities for youth to pursue their passion for the sport of tennis, who may not otherwise have the financial means to advance in the sport.

The Jonathan G. Epstein Spirit of Tennis Scholarship is named in memory of Jonathan G. Epstein, former President of FILA North America and industry leader whose passion for tennis left an indelible mark on the sport and the brand. Epstein’s entrepreneurial spirit and vision led FILA to significant business successes and prominence as a leader in the athletic apparel and footwear industry.

The Martin Mulligan Sr. Spirit of Tennis Scholarship is named in honor of Martin Mulligan Sr., a former top 10 professional tennis player with 72 career titles, including three Italian Opens, Wimbledon Finalist and current Global Tennis Marketing Executive at FILA. At the end of his playing career, Mulligan transitioned to become the Italian Davis Cup coach before he began his career at FILA. Mulligan also received the Golden Racquet award from the Italian Tennis Federation for his contributions to tennis. Mulligan has been acknowledged as an extraordinary mentor throughout his career as a player, coach and executive.