The USTA national body announced Monday that Patch Reef Tennis Center in Boca Raton, Fla., was named the Grassroots Program of the Year by the USTA Wheelchair National Committee, one of three wheelchair programs nationwide recognized.
“Wheelchair tennis continues to grow in stature and popularity in the United States and the USTA is proud to recognize these wheelchair events and facilities for their commitment in promoting and growing the sport,” said Joanne Wallen, USTA Director, Adult Individual Play & Wheelchair Tennis. “These organizations positively impact wheelchair tennis, and allow those that use a chair to give them avenues to hone and showcase their skills on a national platform.”
The Grassroots Program of the Year award goes to a wheelchair tennis instructional program. The long-standing Patch Reef Tennis Center program is run by Jim Tierney, director of tennis for Boca Raton Parks and Recreation, and regularly serves a group of 15-20 players with clinics and tournaments.
“We have a good core of wheelchair players at the tennis center so we started up the local tournaments,” Tierney told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel last December. “We also have the South Florida Open Wheelchair Championship tournament on March 30-April 1.”
Also recognized were the US Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships in St. Louis as the ITF Tournament of the Year, and the Rock and Roll Classic in Rock Hill, S.C., as the USTA Tournament of the Year.
The awards were voted on by wheelchair athletes across the globe and other stakeholders in the wheelchair community, and overseen by the USTA Wheelchair National Committee. A not-for-profit organization with more than 715,000 members, the USTA invests 100 percent of its proceeds in growing the game.
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