Black History Month:
February 28, 2019
NORWALK, CT- In honor of Black History Month, USTA New England is spotlighting African-American leaders who have had an impact on the game of tennis. In this feature, we are proud to highlight David Kimani, Director of Tennis at Norwalk Grassroots Tennis & Education in Norwalk, CT. David works with underserved youth from Norwalk and surrounding areas to help them grow and evolve into successful tennis players and human beings. For his continued efforts, David, along with Troy Crichlow, was presented USTA New England's 2016 William Freedman Award for outstanding contribution to junior development.
Q & A with David Kimani:
What is your role in the tennis community and why is it so important to you?
I am the Director of Tennis with the Norwalk Grassroots Tennis program. I design and supervise the running of tennis programming for over 250 kids yearly who play tennis in our program. ADVERTISEMENT It is important to me because it gives our non-profit program a basis of connecting with kids in our community to instill hard work and discipline in all that they do especially at school and home.
What does it mean to you to be a leader in the tennis community?
I am proud to be an African American teacher who can deliver and be a good role model for the kids in our community because they can relate very well with my upbringing, and I can also understand better their community needs and how to support them better.
Was there a player/role model you specifically looked up to who helped guide you to where you are today?
My role model was my tennis coach, Peter Orwa, who played Davis Cup for Kenya and coached tennis for a living. He showed me what it took to be a competent tennis player and the dedication it took to play the sport well. I later met another tennis coach/organizer, Peter Wachira, who taught me the ropes of being a good coach and the love of teaching tennis to kids.
What can we do to get more African Americans, both youths and adults, playing tennis?
To get more African Americans playing tennis, we need to promote tennis as a cool sport. We must build and repair dilapidated tennis courts in our communities, hold more local tournaments and jamborees that will get the youth excited, and create that pathway of success that can be achieved by being involved in the sport of tennis.
In your opinion, what has been your most meaningful contribution to the tennis community thus far?
My most meaningful contribution is creating and educating our community of opportunities their children have to participate in the sport of tennis. The other piece is empowering our high school players to give back and participate in teaching other young kids to love and play tennis. They are our future champions and role models.