QuickStart on Center Court
CHICAGO — If there is such a thing as the “Pied Pipers of Junior Tennis,” then Midtown Tennis Club’s Butch Staples and Leah Friedman would hold that title.
Overseeing a program of more than 600 youngsters, the two Midtown Chicago tennis professionals will truly take on the piper roles when they escort a group of Midtown youngsters first to Cincinnati in mid-August and then to New York in September.
At the request of the United States Tennis Association (USTA) Friedman and Staples will conduct the first-ever United States Tennis Association (USTA) Quickstart presentation with five Midtown children ages 7-10 prior to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open at the Billy Jean King Tennis Center on September 9.
Friedman and Staples took their show to the ATP’s Western and Southern Financial Group Masters in Cincinnati for a practice run through with the kids on August 13 and will head back east to appear at Arthur Ashe Kids Day as part of U.S. Open kickoff festivities in New York August 28.
It’s all in preparation for the Big Show, though, at center court, during the U.S. Open.
“It’s a pretty big honor to be asked by the USTA to provide a clinic on national stages such as Arthur Ashe Kids Day and then during the actual Open,” said Staples, who is one of only a handful of Master Teaching Professionals in the country.
Opened in 1970 as the world’s largest indoor tennis facility built specifically for tennis, Midtown has been always been driving force in amateur tennis. The club will host a day-long series of activities including a charity Pro-Am and evening celebration on October 16 to mark its 40th anniversary.
“Not only was this club at the forefront of innovations with regards to court surface and lighting, but programs such as Quickstart and our patented Junior Development Pathways have paved the way for thousands of children to learn the game,” said Staples. “It seems fitting that the program we are highlighting at The Open is all about the children.”
Also fitting is that the event will take place at the Billy Jean King Center as King herself spent a lengthy period of her life in the Windy City and recently called Midtown as one of the country’s best tennis clubs.
While plans may even call for some Midtown’s juniors to play with the likes of Federer, Nadal, Clijsters and Djokovic on August 28, wouldn’t it be cool if Billy Jean herself picked up a racquet and rallied with the kids?
“Yes, that would be something,” said Staples.
Anything is possible. Just ask the Midtown parents who will be watching their kids from the stands at center court on September 9.
About Midtown Tennis Club
Opened on October 16, 1970, Midtown Tennis Club in Chicago was the world’s first and largest indoor tennis facility built from the ground up specifically for tennis. Midtown Tennis Club serves as the flagship location for Tennis Corporation of America and is one of 10 Midtown Athletic Clubs located in the United States and Canada. Recognized as one of the top facilities of its kind in the country, Midtown Tennis Club has some of country’s top teaching professionals and offers private and group tennis instruction as well as cutting edge adult and junior programs including Cardio Tennis, Junior Development Pathways as well as the patented Tennis in No Time® (TNT) — a revolutionary program that has taught more than 75,000 beginners to play the game since 1972.
Tennis legends that have visited and played at Midtown include Venus Williams, Andy Roddick, Billie Jean King, Andre Agassi, Arthur Ashe and John McEnroe.
For more information about Midtown Tennis Club, visit midtown.com/chicago or call (773) 235-2300.
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