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National

USTA launches Net Generation wheelchair tennis ambassador program

February 25, 2021

To facilitate the growth of wheelchair tennis at the junior and grassroots levels, the USTA has tabbed 14 decorated wheelchair tennis providers in the inaugural Net Generation Wheelchair Ambassador program.

 

This group will assist the USTA in fostering the next generation of wheelchair tennis players by collaborating with current providers, creating new programs, and increasing outreach to associations affiliated with adapted sports. 

 

They will also work alongside the organization's national wheelchair staff and committee to enhance communication across the wheelchair tennis network in pursuit of growing the game. 

 

Net Generation, the official youth tennis brand of the USTA, provides family-friendly, safe, and clear connections to the sport. It celebrates a game where no one sits on the sidelines and aims to inspire the next generation of tennis players by encompassing all aspects of youth play for kids from ages 5-18. 

 

“We couldn’t be more excited to welcome this outstanding group of wheelchair tennis providers that are known in their local communities for their top-notch programming and dedication to growing the game of tennis at the grassroots level,” said Craig Morris, USTA Chief Executive, Community Tennis. 

“The USTA is proud to champion adapted sports and through our Net Generation curriculum and resources we are confident these group of ambassadors will help develop the next generation of wheelchair tennis greats.”

 

This year’s Net Generation Wheelchair Tennis Ambassadors include Evan Enquist (Tuscaloosa, Ala.), Shelby Baron (Tuscaloosa, Ala.), Lynn Bender (Zeeland, Mich.), Cindy Benzon (Spring, Texas), Tim Burke (Minneapolis, Minn.), Kendall Chitambar (Boulder, Colo.), John Devorss (Salem, Ore.), Kevin Heim (Lincoln, Neb.), Anthony Lara (Chino, Calif.), Mia Hansen (Tucson, Ariz.), Taylor Wingate (Rock Hill, S.C.), Dean Oba (Salt Lake City, Utah), Gary Rudd (Midlothian, Va.). and Thomas Dodd (Attleboro, Mass.)

 

With decorated reputations as players, teachers and/or coaches in their local communities, these individuals also boast a decorated resume on the national and international stage. The group includes Baron, who represented Team USA at the Rio Paralympics in 2016 and reached a career-high international ranking of No. 24 in singles and No. 20 in doubles and Devorss, a coach of multiple Grand Slam champions, including David Wagner. 

 

The launch of the Net Generation Wheelchair Tennis Ambassadors program is the latest endeavor aimed towards fulfilling the mission of the USTA's Junior Wheelchair Tennis Pathway Initiative: growing the sport of wheelchair tennis by enhancing the junior experience. The USTA strives to fulfill this mission by attracting new junior participants, providing an enjoyable entry experience, and continuing efforts to broaden play opportunities for the retention of young athletes. 

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