Tennis and education programs the big winners on World Tennis Day

March 9, 2016 04:25 PM

By E.J. Crawford,

On World Tennis Day, fans around the world gather to celebrate the sport for a lifetime, hitting the courts and settling in at night to take in the BNP Paribas Showdown, an exhibition featuring some of the world’s best players hosted annually at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Behind the scenes, World Tennis Day and the BNP Paribas Showdown have an even greater impact: helping to provide the funds that the USTA Foundation uses to support hundreds of tennis and education programs around the country.

This year, the USTA Foundation raised more than $160,000 at its annual fundraiser, once again held in conjunction with the BNP Paribas Showdown. That money will go to support the National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) network, which features more than 500 nonprofit youth development organizations that impact the lives of more than 225,000 under-resourced youths each year.

The Foundation has been the official charity of the BNP Paribas Showdown for each of the last three years.

“The BNP Paribas Showdown is a great platform for the USTA Foundation to share its message of using tennis to provide safe, healthy and educational opportunities for youth across America,” said Dan Faber, USTA Foundation executive director. “This event not only showcases the best of the best in the sport of tennis, but allows us to share our accomplishments and efforts with some of the best tennis fans in New York City.”

As part of this year’s fundraising efforts, the Foundation held a World Tennis Day reception on Monday, March 7, that was co-hosted by 18-time Grand Slam champion Chris Evert and ESPN personality Hannah Storm. It featured appearances from the BNP Paribas Showdown participants Serena Williams, Caroline Wozniacki, Stan Wawrinka and Gael Monfils, and drew Foundation supporters of all stripes, from longtime donors to celebrities such as Gayle King and Rod Gilbert.

Renowned artist David Garibaldi also did a painting of all four players that was signed by the athletes and sold at a live auction held that night, with the proceeds going to the Foundation.

In addition, on the day of the BNP Paribas Showdown, Tuesday, March 8, a select group of donors participated in a clinic with Wozniacki, Wawrinka and  Monfils, and there were also private hitting sessions with Evert and Wozniacki.

Wrapping up the evening was an on-court Q&A with Faber, Evert and select NJTL students.

“Serving up dreams is the most important thing we do,” Faber said. “And from the money we raised to support life-changing programs throughout the country to having an opportunity to share the enduring values of tennis and education, 2016 World Tennis Day was, undoubtedly, another unqualified success.”



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