Ashley Marshall  |  March 2, 2017

Five talented young tennis players will take center stage alongside their heroes as part of a celebration showcasing the sport for a lifetime.


The children, ages between 4 to 16, will serve as Play For Life ambassadors at World Tennis Day, which coincides with the BNP Paribas Showdown at New York’s iconic Madison Square Garden on Monday, March 6.


World Tennis Day is part of the USTA’s annual effort to get more children into the game by showcasing the lifelong benefits of the sport. And this year, a quintet of ambassadors who share a common passion for tennis and sportsmanship will show that you’re never too young to get in the game.

To inspire other children to play tennis and provide others with an inside look at World Tennis Day, the youngsters will serve as honorary participants, sharing their behind-the-scenes experiences on social media by using the #PlayForLife hashtag.



Each ambassador has amassed a sizable social media following and has proven himself or herself as an effective influencer by uniquely documenting their personal tennis stories. In doing so, they have become role models within their respective peer group.


The 2017 Play for Life ambassadors are: Amadeo Mendez-Robles of Las Vegas, age 4; Lleyton Johnson of Columbus, Ohio, age 8; Kalli Minor of Compton, Calif., age 10; Jessica Popiol of Bartlett, Ill., age 11; and Teddy Brodsky of New York, age 16.


Between them, the five children have around 40,000 followers on Instagram.


The BNP Paribas Showdown, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary, features current stars Venus Williams, Jack Sock, Juan Martin del Potro – members of the Americas lineup – and Garbiñe Muguruza, Nick Kyrgios and Kei Nishikori – part of the world team. They will be joined by newly named Tennis Hall of Famer and 2003 US Open champion Andy Roddick of the U.S. and two-time Grand Slam men’s singles winner Lleyton Hewitt of Australia


The Showdown will raise money for the USTA Foundation, the nonprofit arm of the USTA and the official charity of the event for the fourth consecutive year.

The Foundation will also host a reception on World Tennis Day to raise funds for scholarships and programming grants for under-resourced youth in tennis and education programs nationwide. The Foundation supports more than 350 nonprofit youth development organizations that offer free or low-cost tennis and education programming – primarily through the National Junior Tennis and Learning network – to more than 200,000 kids across the country.

The BNP Paribas Showdown is a production of GF Sports and Madison Square Garden. Tickets are on sale now at the Madison Square Garden box office, online here and at all Ticketmaster outlets. 


Related Articles