The USTA has announced it will launch a new Public Service Announcement (PSA) featuring Dr. Jill Biden that highlights the USTA’s efforts to use tennis to support military families. The PSA, written and produced by the USTA, is part of Joining Forces, the national initiative started last year by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden that seeks to inspire, educate and spark action from all sectors of society in support of veterans, service members, and military families.
"Tennis can connect our service men and women with each other, their families, and their communities," Dr. Biden said. "Joining Forces is proud to have partners like the USTA, whose support honors the courage and sacrifice of our military families." An unprecedented effort has been made by the USTA to reach out to more than 100,000 military service members and their families, introducing them to the physical and psychological health benefits of tennis.
"Tennis is the sport of opportunity," said Jon Vegosen, USTA Chairman of the Board and President. "It can inspire and help educate every member of our society. The USTA is proud to work with First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden on their Joining Forces initiative to use tennis as a means of supporting our nation’s military service men, women and families."
As part of the USTA’s Military Outreach Program, the US Open also will host a Military Appreciation Day on September 3, honoring 14 Wounded Warriors, acknowledging their sacrifices, bravery and courage in the line of duty. The recognition will be witnessed by a capacity crowd on the video screens of Arthur Ashe Stadium. The Wounded Warriors are from different military branches and hail from around the country, including a US Army active duty amputee, who is serving as a ballperson representing Wounded Warriors at this year’s US Open. The military contingent will be treated to a day of tennis in a luxury suite inside Ashe Stadium at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
The USTA Military Outreach mission is to provide sustainable world-wide tennis support, training and programming options to America’s service members, families and veterans. The USTA utilizes its existing initiatives and programs to reach, support and provide direct services to military families, service members and veterans. Through partnerships with organizations such as the National Recreation Foundation, USO, Freedom Alliance, Blue Star Families, Our Military Kids, Aleethia Foundation and more, USTA volunteers and tennis communities have committed to giving back to those who have given so much. The USTA Adopt-A-Unit program has reached more than 300 military units and has introduced more than 300,000 deployed service members to the recreational, therapeutic and social benefits of tennis.
It is the USTA’s belief that tennis will help provide a means for service members to reintegrate with family, friends and community upon their return from conflict. For wounded, ill and injured service members transitioning, tennis therapy clinics have been established by the USTA at military medical hospitals, Warrior Transition Units, and VA medical centers including the Balboa Navy Medical Center, Walter Reed National Medical Center, Brooke Army Medical Center, and the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center, to name a few.