August 26th, 2015

Tennis Briefs: Arthur Ashe Essay Winners, Sept. USTA Play Days

Youth Tennis News Play Days Festivals

Delray, Jacksonville Youth Win USTA Arthur Ashe Essay Contest, Head to NYC

Featured_2015 Arthur Ashe Essay 2-20-15Nine-year-old Kelly Mejia Solares of Delray Beach and 12-year-old Alfredo Reyes of Jacksonville were two Florida winners announced this week among the 10 national winners of the 17th annual NJTL (National Junior Tennis & Learning network) Arthur Ashe Essay Contest.

Solares attends the Delray Beach Tennis Patrons NJTL, and Reyes the MaliVai Washington Youth Foundation NJTL in Jacksonville, Fla.

Each winner will receive round-trip airfare to New York City for himself/herself and a parent/legal guardian plus a two-night stay at the Grand Hyatt 42nd Street and VIP status in the President’s Box during the 2015 Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day presented by Hess. Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day will be held Saturday, Aug. 29, at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

mal facebookThe weekend will wrap up with an awards luncheon on Aug. 30, hosted by USTA Foundation Chairman and former world No. 4 James Blake, and former New York City Mayor and USTA board member David Dinkins. The luncheon will be held at the Yale Club, where the essay contest winners will receive an honorary plaque.

This year’s essay contest focused on highlighting NJTL co-founder Charlie Pasarell. Arthur Ashe, along with Pasarell and their friend Sheridan Snyder, co-founded NJTL in 1969. The goal was to develop a program that would have a positive impact on under-resourced children by introducing them to tennis, keeping them off the streets and encouraging them to stay in school. Students were asked to write an essay of 350 words or less, responding to a specific question about Pasarell. This year’s question asked: “Who is a local NJTL hero in your community that resembles what Mr. Pasarell did through NJTL?”

Delray Beach’s Solares’ essay was about her coach and mentor, former USTA Florida President Don Cleveland.

“He’s my hero because he is a good example, teaches us about manners and I believe in him,” the 9-year-old Solares wrote. “I was having trouble learning a forehand. I just couldn’t do it, but like Coach Don I didn’t give up!…Coach Don’s qualities of selflessness, respectfulness and determination are seen in how he cares for us by spending Tuesdays and Thursdays with us instead of doing something else…The way Coach Don has taught me to respect, work with others and be responsible has influenced me to become a better person.”

The awards are presented by the USTA Foundation, the national charitable organization of the United States Tennis Association.

“We want to congratulate this year’s Arthur Ashe Essay Contest winners and commend them on their ability to so aptly communicate the positive impact their NJTL hero has played in their lives,” said USTA Foundation Executive Director Dan Faber.

In January 2014, the USTA Foundation combined with USTA NJTL, a national network of 500 community-based tennis and education programs serving more than 225,000 youth, to become a fully-operational foundation. NJTL has impacted millions of kids throughout the country over the past 46 years, making it the largest grassroots tennis program in the United States. For more information go to

Join These 17 Florida Facilities Hosting Free Sept. Tennis Play Events

Ad_2015 Register Play DayYour tennis facility can sign-up to host a Tennis Play Day or Tennis Play Event in September in partnership with the USTA and Nickelodeon, celebrating the 2015 Nickelodeon Worldwide Day of Play.

Tennis promotions on the Nickelodeon network in the coming months will drive millions of new families to the Youth Tennis website. Register your event and watch the advertising power of Nickelodeon and the USTA drive players to your event listing at

Cities and facilities hosting free USTA Tennis Play Events in September (as of Aug. 26, 2015):

Altamonte Springs — Sept. 26, Sanlando Park Nickelodeon Worldwide Day of Play, contact:
Boynton Beach — Sept. 5, Ed Duffy Tennis Academy Play Day, Indian Spring Tennis Club, contact:
Boynton Beach — Sept. 12, Nickelodean Worldwide Day of Play, East Coast Tennis Foundation, contact:
Casselberry — Sept. 19, Red Bug Lake Park Play Day, contact:
Homestead — Sept. 26, JD Redd Family Tennis Play Day,
Jacksonville — Sept. 19, Play Day Super Saturday, MaliVai Washington Youth Center,
Palm Harbor — Sept. 20, Play Day, YMCA of the Suncoast,
Melbourne — Sept. 26, Fun Family Tennis Play Day, Suntree YMCA Family Center, contact:
Miami — Sept. 4, Back to School Play Day, North Park Trail, contact:
Miami — Sept. 11, Free Tennis Festival @ Armbrister Park,
Miami — Sept. 12, Wild about Sports: Back 2 School Tournament,
Miami — Sept. 12, Fun Kid Fit-Learn to Play, Water Oaks Park,
Miami — Sept. 18, Free Tennis Festival @ Henderson Park,
Miami — Sept. 26, Fun Kid Fit Play Day, Water Oaks Park,
Sanford — Sept. 5, Nickelodeon Worldwide Day of Play, Sylvan Lake Park, contact:
Titusville — Sept. 25, Friday Night Lights Play Event, YMCA Tennis & Racquetball Center, contact:
West Palm Beach — Sept. 5, Gaines Park Worldwide Day of Play,

Other Florida Play Events with modest fees are being held in September and are listed along with free events at

The USTA and tennis facilities have teamed to host approximately 5,000 USTA Free Tennis Play Events over the last three years, in the process growing business for local clubs and facilities.

To register your facility for a USTA Free Tennis Play Event go to