USTA Recognizes Entities Growing WC Tennis
Plenty of people and entities are growing the game of wheelchair tennis nationwide, and will now get the recongition they deserve, thanks to the inception of three new USTA awards.
The inaugural award winners are: ITF Tournament of the Year - US Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships, St. Louis; USTA Tournament of the Year - Rock and Roll Classic, Rock Hill, S.C. and Grassroots Program of the Year - Patch Reef Tennis Center, Boca Raton, Fla.
“Wheelchair tennis continues to grow in stature and popularity in the United States and the USTA is proud to recognize these wheelchair events and facilities for their commitment in promoting and growing the sport,” said Joanne Wallen, USTA Director, Adult Individual Play & Wheelchair Tennis. “These organizations positively impact wheelchair tennis, and allow those that use a chair to give them avenues to hone and showcase their skills on a national platform.”
ITF Tournament of the year is awarded to a professional wheelchair tournament and is voted on by the players.
The winner of this year's award was the US Open in St. Louis directed by Ken Hayden and Mary Buschmann. The US Open is a Super Series and attracts the best players from around the world. It also serves as a precursor to the US Open Wheelchair in New York.
The USTA Tournament of the year award goes to a wheelchair tennis tournament that is a stand-alone USTA event and does not include the open level professional category.
This year's recipient is the Rock and Roll Tennis Classic in Rock Hill, SC. and directed by Kim Ozmon. Kim is a stalwart in the wheelchair tennis teaching community having run a strong program at the Rock Hill Tennis Center for many years.
The grassroots program of the year award goes to a wheelchair tennis instructional program.
This year's recipient is the Patch Reef Tennis Center in Boca Raton, Florida. Run by Director of tennis for Boca Raton Parks and Rec. Jim Tierney, the program has been in existence for a number of years, servicing close to 20 players.
The awards were voted on by wheelchair athletes across the globe and other stakeholders in the wheelchair community and overseen by the USTA Wheelchair National Committee.