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U.S. Davis Cup team inspires young tennis players in Boise

April 3, 2013 05:33 PM
Sam Querrey talks things over with his young doubles partners.
The U.S. Davis Cup team entertained more than 300 kids at a youth tennis clinic in Boise.
By Erin Bruehl, USTA.com
BOISE, Idaho – More than 300 kids came to CenturyLink Arena, hit tennis balls on courts sized right for kids, played games and experienced all the fun tennis has to offer.
But it was not just any ordinary evening of youth tennis, as the group of young players also received instruction, entertainment and inspiration from a few of their heroes and best tennis players in the world: the members of the U.S. Davis Cup team.
Bob and Mike Bryan, Sam Querrey, John Isner, Captain Jim Courier, along with practice partners Tennys Sandgren and Mitchell Krueger – in town to play world No. 1 Novak Djokovic and Serbia in the Davis Cup quarterfinals – played doubles with kids and among themselves on 10 and Under Tennis courts. They also signed autographs for their young fans.
The event, a result of planning from the Idaho Tennis Association and the USTA Intermountain Section, also featured Boise Mayor Dave Bieter; Lori Otter, wife of Idaho governor C.L. "Butch" Otter and a current USTA League player; members of the Boise State men’s and women’s tennis teams; and Boise State coach Greg Patton, who was instrumental in bringing Davis Cup to Idaho and who has coached and known nearly all the members of the U.S. Davis Cup team for a long time.
For Patton, who coached Courier on the Junior Davis Cup team and who coached the Bryans and Querrey in camps years ago, seeing so many children have a chance to play with some of the finest players in the world was a truly remarkable event.
"For us, it is historic to have Davis Cup here," Patton said. "To have the greatest doubles team in the world, the world No. 1 and all these players here it is like having superheroes in our city. To bring the very greatest players in the world here, it inspires people and makes them want to play. We had over 300 kids here hitting. Hopefully, lots of these kids will continue playing."
Lori Otter, who started playing tennis a year and a half ago and completed her first USTA League season last year, is a former physical education teacher. As such, she loved seeing not just Davis Cup come to her state, but also so many kids inspired to be active through tennis.
"It is kind of like the Super Bowl for tennis," she said of Davis Cup coming to Boise. "For us, it is an amazing opportunity for kids and for Idaho to bring tennis in a bigger way to our state. Anytime I see kids running around, chasing or hitting balls, I am pretty happy. It is great when kids find something they can enjoy and excel at and just have that exposure to being active at a young age."
In addition to playing with the players, the kids rallied on the 10 and Under Tennis courts, received instruction from the college players and bounced balls on their racquets. Afterward, they were treated to a friendly doubles match between the Bryans against Isner and Querrey, who entered the mini-match winless against the 13-time Grand Slam champions, and left still searching for that elusive first win.
The team thanked all the kids and their parents for coming out to play, and also encouraged them to come out to Taco Bell Arena this weekend (April 5-7) to lend their support for Team USA as it attempts to reach the Davis Cup semifinals.
"We’re here because Boise deserves Davis Cup," Courier told the crowd. "We’ll need you all this weekend. Every time one of these guys does something great on the court, we want to hear you. It is awesome to see so many people here and it is a great kick-off event [for the weekend]."
For more information about tennis programs for kids, please visit www.youthtennis.com. For more news and information about the U.S. Davis Cup team, please visit the Davis Cup homepage.


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