A Grand Slam experience for Philly Kids

Lisa Raymond has 11 Grand Slam titles and has risen to No. 1 in the world tennis rankings numerous times in the last 15 years. On Friday morning, she shared those experiences with fourth-graders in Philadelphia.

IMG_9873Raymond, the Philadelphia Freedoms and Independence Blue Cross Foundation teamed up to bring tennis to St. Gabriel School in Philadelphia, where the kids played an hour of tennis using 10 and Under pop-up nets in the school’s gymnasium. USTA Middle States representatives Kitty Perrin and Delia Sescioreanu helped run the courts, getting the kids interested and excited about tennis.

For many, it was their first time experiencing tennis.

The students also had an opportunity to hear extensively from Raymond, one of the greatest doubles players in U.S. history. Raymond spoke about tennis and answered questions from the kids about her experiences in competition, practice and sports as a whole.

“When was the last time you played in a tournament?” one student asked.

“About a week ago, in Australia,” she responded.

“When did you start playing?” another chimed in.

“When I was 7,” she said. “That’s the great thing about tennis. You can start when you’re young, and you can play it for as long as you want.”

IMG_9867The Freedoms, which will again host their home schedule at the Villanova Pavilion this summer, gave a free racquet to each student on hand.

The Independence Blue Cross Foundation’s Health Futures initiative is a $3 million comprehensive, collaborative approach to combating obesity and improving child wellness in southeastern Pennsylvania. Launched in 2013, Health Futures offers programming in more than 20 regional schools, including eight in Philadelphia County.

For photos from the event, visit the Middle States Facebook page.


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