2020 Community Champions: Palmer Park Tennis Academy named CTA of the year

December 03, 2020

WATCH: Billie Jean King honors Palmer Park Tennis Academy

On Dec. 2, the USTA's Celebrating Community Champions virtual event honored 2020 award-winners in a variety of service-based categories. In the absence of a 2020 USTA Annual Meeting, each honoree received a surprise virtual call from a tennis legend as a thank-you for their contributions to growing the game of tennis.


The People for Palmer Park (PFPP) Tennis Academy has been named this year's Community Tennis Association (CTA) of the Year.


The Palmer Park Tennis Academy (PPTA), part of the larger "People for Palmer Park" organization, is a non-profit, USTA-registered community tennis association serving the Detroit area. It was founded in 2011 by Leonora King, a former collegiate tennis player who returned to the area to create and fill the need for a community-based association. The academy was first created to help preserve and revitalize Palmer Park and today it serves over 200 kids (ages 5-15 years old) each year. PPTA has a 12 & under USTA Junior Team Tennis group called The Palmer Park Pumas. 


The PPTA’s goal is to create fundamentally sound juniors who can go on to achieve great success in the sport for a lifetime. There is also a focus on teaching good sportsmanship to children and instilling qualities that carry over into their everyday lives.  Further, they always seek to create an atmosphere where families connect through their young tennis players, so that they will grow together in their pursuit of tennis excellence.  In line with their goal and mission, in 2017 PPTA added an educational component to their tennis program, which was funded by the USTA Foundation and their National Junior Tennis and Learning program (NJTL). 


“Leonora and the entire team at Palmer Park Tennis Academy have an undeniable passion and purposeful commitment to growing the game and changing lives,” said Craig Morris, USTA Chief Executive, Community Tennis. “Their focus on impacting the youth in their community by instilling skills that will help them succeed on and off the court is one of the many reasons they’re deserving of this award.” 

The USTA Community Tennis Association (CTA) of the Year Award was established in 2002 to honor a CTA for outstanding service in growing and developing the sport of tennis in its community. The award recipient is selected from 17 nominees, one from each of the USTA sections, by a panel of USTA Community Tennis Association Committee members.

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