Communities hit local courts to learn the game with Play Tennis Midwest!
Tennis organizers from Wisconsin to Ohio came out to their local courts to host 100 FREE beginner tennis events the weekend of May 21-23 in celebration of Play Tennis Midwest! Children and adults of all ages, abilities and backgrounds were invited to give tennis a shot at our fun, intro to tennis events (think music, balloons, games and prizes!). And more than 2,100 people came out to try tennis!
According to The New York Times, tennis participation rose 22 percent in 2020. During the pandemic, nearly 3 million new players picked up a racquet for the first time, and 3.8 million Americans returned to the sport. The USTA Midwest wanted to grow that number even more by hosting Play Tennis Midwest!
The goals for Play Tennis Midwest were simple:
- encourage beginners who are new to the game
- support returning players who are ready to make a comeback
The best part: All events were free! Even better: If a player didn't have a tennis racquet, one was provided to them onsite! Some participants even got to take their new racquets home. Others won books, water bottles, tennis bags, and other goodies. Music was playing, while some sites passed out ice cream cones and gave away lots of treats!
Play Tennis Midwest was also a way of celebrating the United States Tennis Association on its 140th anniversary! Congratulations were given by Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (view her video message here), Mayor Joe Hogsett of Indianapolis, Indiana Governor, Eric Holcomb and the Indiana State Senate. The mayor of Toledo, Ohio, Wade Kapszukiewicz, kicked off local Play Tennis Midwest events, and Ohio State Senator, Cecil Thomas, was onsite in Cincinnati joining the fun!
New players and local instructors were featured on TV and in interviews with news reporters, radio stations, and other journalists! Check out the spot featuring USTA Wisconsin on WDJT58 Milwaukee by clicking here.
Before players left, they received information on summer programming and more ways to keep playing. Parents and players have been reaching out to the USTA Midwest and their local districts following Play Tennis Midwest looking for additional play opportunities.
One parent from Northern Indiana said about her five year old, "My daughter loved [Play Tennis Midwest] and she wants to continue practicing tennis."
The USTA Midwest loved meeting every new player who came out for Play Tennis Midwest, and hopes that each of them has found their new favorite sport in the game of tennis!
We also extend our sincerest gratitude to our districts and volunteers who dedicated their time and energy to make Play Tennis Midwest an outstanding success!
If you attended a Play Tennis Midwest event and have a special story to share, we want to hear from you! Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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