KIDS GET OPPORTUNITY IN FRONT OF ALL-TIME GREATS
Feb 25, 2011, 6:21:15 AM | by
The BNP Paribas Showdown is in its fourth year but this time at Madison Square Garden, New York, Ivan Lendl, Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras and John McEnroe will be playing on a “blended court”. What’s that you ask?...
The BNP Paribas Showdown is in its fourth year but this time at Madison Square Garden, New York, Ivan Lendl, Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras and John McEnroe will be playing on a “blended court”. What’s that you ask? Well it’s a 60 foot court inside the regular 78 foot court. It continues an initiative that has been tried out by the USTA in an effort to promote the game with kids. The big guns will play within the lines on the regular sized court but by laying out the blended court the USTA is trying to start gaining a lot of extra exposure on a national level for blended line courts. The BNP Paribas Showdown will be the first televised event to feature a court with blended lines. There will be a demonstration on the 60 foot court featuring kids under the age of 10 that are training at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre in New York. The demo will take place before to the John McEnroe – Ivan Lendl match and will last for thirty minutes. What a great opportunity for these kids to be the warm-up act for two players among the greatest in modern tennis. The kids probably won’t know who they are but their parents certainly will. The blended lines are painted in a different, more subtle colour than the traditional lines, enabling courts to be adapted for competitive play for younger children. The night will be known as “Tennis Night in America” and it’s on 28 February. Local kids from the New York Junior Tennis League will take to the 60 foot blended line court for a 10 and Under Tennis exhibition, using the QuickStart Tennis play format. The concept of 10 and Under Tennis scales the game down to size for its youngest participants, with slower-moving and lower-bouncing balls, lighter and smaller racquets, and shorter courts that make the game fun, easy to learn and easy to play, ensuring that kids will return to tennis again and again. If things are done to make tennis more accessible and enticing to kids encouraging them to pick up a tennis racquet rather than a football or a baseball glove, then more power to the people and organisations that promote that. And through the BNP Paribas Showdown tennis fans will also get to watch and revisit two of the all-time greatest rivalries from the 1980’s and 1990’s, as McEnroe and Lendl will compete in a pro-set match (first to eight games) followed by a best-of-three set match between Sampras and Agassi. The four all-time greats have won a combined 37 Grand Slam singles titles and 295 ATP World Tour singles titles. Something the young kids might just aim to emulate.