Redfoo of the hit group LMFAO was the sponsor of the Party Rock Open, a women’s $50,000 USTA Pro Circuit event held in Las Vegas the week of Sept. 24. A former USTA-ranked junior player, Redfoo is being featured in our USTA Pro Circuit Spotlight column for October. He recently took time to discuss why he became the sponsor of a USTA Pro Circuit event, what the experience was like for him, his love for tennis and much more.
USTA.com: Tell us what inspired you to sponsor this USTA Pro Circuit event here in Las Vegas.
Redfoo: Well, what inspired me to be a sponsor at this event is simply that I love tennis. I grew up playing juniors, USTA. I was ranked -- you guys can look it up -- I think somewhere around 80 in the 16s. And tennis was so instrumental in my life that when I came across the opportunity...
I was having a hit. I called my hotel and said, "Hey, I need to hit with a pro," and Tyler (Weeks) came out, and he brought out one of his other pros, and we hit, and I started asking him questions about strategy. Then he said, "Well, you know, I put on a tournament every year, and we're looking for a sponsor. It's a $50K event." And I said, "OK, well, that's a lot." And then he goes, "But it could be called (pauses and gestures)... The Party Rock Open." And he did this with his fingers (waves his hands), and he did some magic, and I saw a vision of what we're seeing now -- The Party Rock Open.
So I got with my people and said, "Make this happen. I want to be involved more than just as a title sponsor. I want to help with the activities and the events, kids' day. I want to teach kids how to shuffle and hit some balls and do whatever.
And it's finally here. We've been working about a month and a half on this, and it's so great. I just hope we can bring party rock to the tennis world, and what that means is to bring personality, bring fun. You know, bring some style, and say, "Hey, you can dress as cool as you want and have fun," all respecting the guidelines of the USTA and the ITF. So we're just here ready to have some fun and do tennis, party-rock style.
USTA.com: How did your love for tennis influence your decision to tie tennis with your music and your brand?
Redfoo: My love for tennis influenced my decision to sponsor the event and to tie my brand with tennis because I just want to be more in the tennis world. I want to meet players and hit some balls and talk about forehands. I've been making music for about four or five years, and I've been playing a little bit here and there, but I want to hit.
I had a hit at Fed Cup with some Russian girl players -- Vesnina -- and then I met this young girl, Ayako Okuno, and she beat me in a tiebreaker, and I started coaching her and helping her out. I just want to be in this world. And this is my excuse to come here to play and train, and we've been at the gym every day, running, hitting serves. I just love the game. I want to play. So I'm here. I'm sharing my music and am pumped up.
USTA.com: How rewarding is it to see the kids who are here for kids' day come out to this event and play the sport that you love so much?
Redfoo: It's so great. It's so great to be inspiring these young kids to fall in love with tennis, fall in love with competing and wanting to be great, to be athletic, to channel their energy in an athletic way. It's so great. I played sports growing up -- tennis, soccer, basketball, golf -- and it really shaped me. So for me to be able to say, "Hey, tennis is cool, you know, because the party rockers are playing tennis, Redfoo is playing tennis..." And it's fun, it's exciting. So to inspire the kids to want to be great in sports is very important to me.
USTA.com: How do you feel about being able to support the tennis players' dreams by doing things like sponsoring this event?
Redfoo: This USTA Pro Circuit event at $50K is so important for the young pro who has played the $5K, the $10K, and getting up their points. This seems like the last level before they break into the top 100 and play the bigger events, so to support this event is really important to me because it's providing those players with a fun atmosphere. They should really have some fun because they compete on court, and it's great, and then after they get off court, they have to have a great player party. You got to have some music on the changeover, you got to have some party rock in your world.
For me, it's great to see all these young talents from all over the world and especially the United States with the USTA, who supported me playing when I was growing up in the juniors. This was always a dream of mine to go pro, so I understand all the players and their dreams, and I love supporting people with dreams who want to go to the top. And it all starts here -- the Party Rock Open, baby! A USTA Pro Circuit event!