Tennis and education wins at 2017 World Tennis Day

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March 20, 2017 12:36 PM

By E.J. Crawford

The 10th anniversary of the BNP Paribas Showdown featured Venus Williams taking on Garbiñe Muguruza, Jack Sock versus Nick Kyrgios, Juan Martin del Potro against Kei Nishikori and a legends match between Andy Roddick and Lleyton Hewitt.

But for all the stars in attendance, the evening’s biggest winners proved to be tennis and education programs throughout the country.

The USTA Foundation, the charitable arm of the USTA and the official charity of the BNP Paribas Showdown for the fourth consecutive year, raised more than $130,000 during its annual fundraiser associated with the Showdown.

That money goes to benefit the National Junior Tennis and Learning network, which supports more than 350 nonprofit youth development organizations across the country that offer free or low-cost tennis and education programming to more than 200,000 kids each year.  

The fundraiser included a pre-match cocktail reception for 80 guests that was hosted by tennis legend and USTA Foundation Celebrity Council member Chris Evert and ESPN tennis broadcaster Chris McKendry. They were joined by Broadway star Norm Lewis as well as former Olympic medalist Nancy Kerrigan and her partner on “Dancing with the Stars,” Artem Chigvintsev.

The reception featured the participating players and included a Q&A between the players, guests in attendance and Evert and McKendry. Also in attendance were four students from the Metropolitan Tennis and Education NJTL program in Upper Marlboro, Md. One of those students, Langston Williams, spoke about how his experiences with NJTL positively impacted his life.

The festivities continued the day of the Showdown, annually planned in honor of World Tennis Day. There was a private hitting sesson with Evert, as well as another with Sock and two students from the NJTL Trenton program, which was donated by a USTA Foundation donor.

During the matches, all players were escorted to the court by one of the NJTL students or by either the child or grandchild of a donor. Polishing off the evening was an on-court presentation featuring NJTL students – another reminder of the powerful work being done by NJTL and supported by the USTA Foundation’s partnership with the BNP Paribas Showdown.

 

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