This year at the 2017 Memphis Open, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation, the Memphis Open presented by Service Master, Shelby County Schools, USTA Tennessee, Memphis Tennis Association and Tennis Memphis partnered together to bring tennis into the schools as a platform for health, discipline and fun – through a program called the Memphis Open All-Stars. This platform of bringing tennis into the schools has been active since 2014.
Supported by USTA Tennessee, schools whose teachers had completed USTA On-Court Workshops and had implemented tennis into their PE curriculum were eligible to apply to attend a field trip to the Memphis Open. From February 13-17, students from four different schools each day began their field trip at Tennis Memphis' Leftwich Tennis Center, where they were active on-court with local area teaching pros and USTA Tennessee staff for tennis warm-ups, training exercises, techniques and drills. After playing tennis, students and their teachers headed to the Racquet Club of Memphis, where they engaged in an off-court Q&A session with an ATP professional player and an educational session with local teaching pro Angela McGahee in the MO – a “fan village", where tennis fans gathered before and after the matches to eat, drink, shop, enjoy live music, play ping pong and watch tennis on the big screens. The ATP professional players who participated in the Q&A sessions included Oliver Marach, Damir Dzunhur, Philipp Oswald, Scott Lipsky and Divij Sharan. Afterwards, they were treated to lunch in the Stadium Court, where they were able to watch the competing pros practice. Close to 500 students experienced the sport of tennis during the 2017 Memphis Open week.
Through the sponsorships of field trip sponsor BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation, students were each able to take home a brand new racket of their very own! In addition, each school that attended received a permanent tennis kit for their school. Students were given youth clinic and junior development information from their neighborhood tennis facilities, giving them each special opportunities to further their game this spring.
This program, which gave students an opportunity to experience the game of tennis personally as well as to see it professionally played, could not have been possible without the support of Tournament Director Erin Mazurek and the entire Memphis Open team. Also with the help of volunteers, coaches, and staff members, the Memphis Open All-Stars program was a huge success and a great way to engage the community in tennis!
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A special thank you to all who were involved with the Memphis Open All-Stars:
Memphis Open presented by ServiceMaster
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation
Shelby County Schools and Germantown Municipal School District
Dr. Cassandra Turner and Kelley Greene: Health, Physical Education and Lifetime Wellness Instructional Advisors, Shelby County Schools
Mr. Brian Fisher: Coordinator of Coordinated School Health, Germantown Municipal School District
Laura Huss: USTA Tennessee Community Coordinator, Memphis Tennis Association
Local Area Teaching Professionals from Tennis Memphis and the Racquet Club of Memphis, for their instruction throughout the week and for their dedication to the tennis in schools' program all year-round – Tennis Memphis : Kent Smith, Maya Smith, Angela McGahee, Giovanni Plater, Olivia Hall; Racquet Club of Memphis: Matt Feury, Dan Singer, Louis Asser
A special thank you to schools who participated:
Highland Oaks Middle
John P. Freeman Middle
Grandview Heights Elementary
Kate Bond Middle
Maxine Smith STEAM Academy