USTA Foundation raises funds, and spirits, at World Tennis Day celebration

March 10, 2015 11:32 PM

By E.J. Crawford,

For tennis fans around the globe, World Tennis Day is a celebration of the sport for a lifetime, featuring clinics, games and exhibitions. For the USTA Foundation, it is a celebration of how tennis can give back to under-resourced youth.

Again in 2015, the USTA Foundation utilized World Tennis Day to serve as a major fundraiser, drawing more than $170,000 to support tennis and education programs throughout the country that help those in need. 

The money was raised through a series of events hosted by the Foundation in conjunction with the BNP Paribas Showdown, held at Madison Square Garden in New York City on March 10. The BNP Paribas Showdown featured a youth tennis demonstration and exhibition matches between Hall of Famers and former US Open champions Monica Seles and Gabriela Sabatini and the headlining match between five-time US Open champion Roger Federer and rising star Grigor Dimitrov.

For the second consecutive year, the USTA Foundation served as the official charity of the BNP Paribas Showdown.

“The USTA Foundation is proud and honored to once again be a part of this spectacular event,” said Dan Faber, Executive Director of the USTA Foundation. “The BNP Paribas Showdown is a great opportunity for us to further our mission of impacting the lives of children through tennis and education programs.”

NJTL product and current Villanova University freshman Will Elmore, from the Marty Hennessy Junior Tennis Foundation in Las Vegas, spoke at a fundraising reception hosted by the Foundation prior to the night’s action. The reception featured a meet-and-greet with the four Showdown participants and was also attended by three-time US Open champion Ivan Lendl and former US Open quarterfinalist and current USTA Foundation chairman James Blake.

Also, Elmore and current NJTL students Damita Bollers (10, from Brooklyn, N.Y., and representing the Harlem Junior Tennis & Education Program), Andreas Nolan (17, from New York and representing the Harlem Junior Tennis & Education Program) and Srinath Mahankali (11, from Bayside, N.Y., and representing New York Junior Tennis & Learning) joined Blake and Faber for an on-court question-and-answer presentation between the night’s two matches (pictured above).

During the day, select USTA Foundation donors had the opportunity to participate in clinics with Dimitrov, Sabatini and Seles, and there were also two private hitting sessions with Blake. All events were held on the famed court at Madison Square Garden.

In addition to the $170,000 already raised, funds for the Foundation will be generated through the auction of a painting by guest artist Cortney Wall, who painted the match action during the BNP Paribas Showdown. The painting is being auctioned online at, with proceeds going to support the Foundation. 

Bids on the painting, which was signed by all four players, are being accepted until Friday, March 13.



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