The United States Tennis Association announced today that it is awarding $62,550 in USTA Wheelchair Tennis Grassroots Grants to nine deserving wheelchair tennis programs nationwide, including Rome Sports.
“The new Rome Tennis Center at Berry College stands to be the epicenter of tennis in the Southern section. Designed as a fully-accessible facility, there will be no barriers or obstacles that would prevent wheelchair tennis players from all access to the courts and public spaces. The success of the Clocktower Classic Wheelchair Tennis Tournament has sparked local and regional interest in implementing a tennis program specifically for youth and adults with a lower mobility impairment,” said Ann Hortman, Rome Sports Director.
This grant provides the opportunity to offer a training clinic for professionals, a free clinic to introduce potential players to the sport and offset the costs to purchase sport chairs and other adaptive equipment needed to launch a wheelchair tennis program. The clinics are scheduled to take place in conjunction with the third annual Clocktower Classic Wheelchair Tennis Championships, July 28-31 at the new Rome Tennis Center at Berry College.
Local tennis professionals, David Araiza and Cristian Lopez have been working with two local wheelchair athletes over the past eighteen months. “Tennis pros, teachers, physical and recreational therapists will have the opportunity to learn how to teach wheelchair tennis from top wheelchair tennis professionals, which was instrumental in our application,” said Hortman.
Grants were awarded to local organizations to promote and develop the growth of wheelchair tennis and use the sport of tennis to build stronger, healthier communities.
“Wheelchair tennis continues to grow in stature and popularity in the United States and the USTA is proud to award these grants to deserving wheelchair tennis organizations for their commitment in promoting and growing the sport,” said Dan James, USTA National Manager, Wheelchair Tennis. “These organizations positively impact wheelchair tennis and we know that these grants will be a part of a continued effort in expanding programs that support the wheelchair community through tennis and foster growth and success in players.”
The USTA grants are being awarded to the following organizations:
· Dwight Davis Memorial Tennis Center, St. Louis
· Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association, Lake Forest, Ill.
· Rome Sports, Rome, Ga.
· Grey Rock Tennis Club, Austin, Texas
· Houston Wheelchair Tennis Program & Team, Cypress, Texas
· Tennis 4 Every 1, The Woodlands, Texas
· University of Alabama – Adaptive Athletics, Tuscaloosa, Ala.
· West Coast Wheelchair Tennis Association, North Hollywood, Calif.
· Wheelchair Sports Federation, Middle Village, N.Y.
The first USTA Wheelchair Tennis Grassroots Grants were awarded in 2008 and since then, the USTA has given more than $450,000 to wheelchair tennis programs across the country.