May 20 marked a special day in the Delaware tennis community. More than 800 kids participated in the annual Tennis in the Streets event held in Rodney Square, Del. The event was sponsored by the City of Wilmington Department of Parks and Recreation, USTA, USPTA and Rodney Street Tennis and Tutoring Association.
Middle School kids were bussed in from various Wilmington public schools to participate in Tennis in the Streets. The event included a series of smaller nets where players had a chance to hit with many Middle States volunteers. From techniques to games, the kids had an opportunity to participate in a variety of different practice methods. The event included low compression red tennis balls, which are slower and bounce lower for smaller players who are new to the sport. This is the second year with the red balls, which the Delaware District received through a Middle States Grow the Game Grant.
Volunteers from the day included tennis professionals, district representatives and employees from the USTA. The excitement from the event was not only on the tennis court, but off the court as well. Participants had the chance to hear live music and dance to their favorite songs.
Tennis in the Streets is now an annual USPTA event and, according to the Delaware President Mark Centrella, was inspired by the 1995 commercial where Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras competed in the streets of Manhattan.
“This event is a great way to unite Delaware tennis and introduce the sport to a new players every year,” said Delaware Tennis Service Representative Kelly Rasero. Tennis in the Streets is part the “Tennis Across America” campaign, which is a free lessons program sponsored by USPTA.
“Even though we had to postpone the event for a week due to rain, we had more volunteers than ever,” said event organizer Jackie Roe. “The event continues to grow every year because of volunteers who want to share their passion for tennis.”