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Inspirational Wheelchair Tennis Exhibition Sets Stage for USTA/Mid-Atlantic Hall of Fame

August 26, 2008 07:07 PM

2010 MATEF Wheelchair Tennis Clinic Gallery

Arlington, VA -- The Mid-Atlantic Tennis Hall of Fame inducted its Class of 2009 at a gala at Army Navy Country Club following an inspirational afternoon tennis clinic featuring wheelchair tennis players paired with former players Stan Smith, Paul Goldstein, Brenda Schultz-McCarthy, and seventh-ranked ITF junior Mitchell Frank. The Class of 2009 included Kenneth Brody, Elaine Puissegur Freeman and the late Capt. Linus Walter Freeman, Jr. (USN Ret.), and Paul Goldstein.

The gala, which benefited the Mid Atlantic Tennis & Education Foundation (MATEF), the charitable arm of USTA/MAS, included a cocktail reception, silent and live auction, dinner, Hall of Fame induction, and ceremony honoring the tennis career of Stan Smith and Robert W. Marsteller Courage Award recipient Ken Guendel.

David Wendt, MATEF president, welcomed the capacity crowd of 230 guests, outlining MATEF’s funding priorities which include providing scholarships to at-risk youth to attend
regional overnight tennis camps at universities, colleges, and other sites, and explained that in 2009 MATEF first provided support to a wheelchair tennis program operated by the Richmond Tennis Association. He said in 2009 MATEF also brought tennis to Walter Reed Army Medical Center through weekend clinics for military families. He also noted that for the first time MATEF supported programs for special education and troubled youth at The Inova Kellar School and Joe Gibbs Youth for Tomorrow.

In concluding his remarks, Wendt quoted Arthur Ashe, “It’s not what you get in life that counts, it’s what you give.” Wendt continued “We salute four individuals who have clearly lived up to Arthurs’s ideals.”

Ray Benton, CEO of the Junior Champions Tennis Training Center (JTCC), presented Ken Brody, highlighting Brody’s philanthropic nature in founding the Junior Tennis Champions
Center and funding it. “For the first seven years of the Champions Center’s operations, Ken asked for no contributions other than his own,” said Benton. The Tennis Center at College Park is a USTA Regional Training Center with 27 courts located in College Park, MD.

Smith, who was honored as an outstanding role model both for his sportsmanship during his stellar career and for his service to the sport of tennis, commented during his remarks that inductee Ken Brody was a man who actually had delivered on the vision he had painted for Smith when the Junior Tennis Champions Center was still in its formative stages.

Smith also referred to the years when he had served as a USTA National coach and said that Goldstein was a player who got the most out of his game by never giving up and figuring out how to win against many talented opponents. Smith also applauded Goldstein’s character, sportsmanship, and cited him as a singular example of an individual who lived up to his commitment to both education and a professional tennis career.

The Robert W. Marsteller Courage Award was given to Ken Guendel, who was first instrumental in developing a program at a private tennis club for Desert Storm Wounded Warriors from Walter Reed Medical Center and who most recently was part of the team that brought tennis to military families at Walter Reed. Guendel, who could not attend due to illness, was represented by his family and friends.

“Ken epitomizes the spirit of MATEF,” said Wendt. “He has devoted his career as a tennis professional to teaching youth, and he has dedicated his spare time to helping others.”

Long-time tennis volunteer Elaine Freeman who was inducted with her late husband Capt. Linus Walter Freeman, USN Ret., was recognized for her lifetime dedication to the USTA. Freeman chaired Member Appreciation Day at the US Open for a record 14 years among her many contributions as a volunteer. Her current passion is bringing tennis to military bases in the United States and overseas.

“When we were growing up, our family’s life centered on tennis from 5 am practice to having late dinners because of tennis activities,” said Michelle Alber, in introducing her mother. “We recognize now that both of our parents made enormous contributions to the sport of tennis.”

A video tribute to Goldstein by his former Stanford coach Dick Gould brought tears to Goldstein’s father and a look of pride to Goldstein. Gould characterized four-time All-American Goldstein as an individual of the highest ideals both on and off the court.

Donald Dell, Goldstein’s longtime agent, pointed out that Goldstein achieved his records during the most competitive era of American players. MATEF Hall of Famer Elise Burgin, who was the Master of Ceremonies for the evening, recognized fellow Stanford graduate Goldstein as a player who maximized his potential through his determination and hard work.

Coach Wayne Bryan, father of Mike and Bob, was the auctioneer for the evening, setting a record surpassing $20,000.

 

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