Bob and Mike Bryan and USTA Serves Executive Director Dan Faber pose with members of four NJTL chapters prior to the BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden.
By Sally Milano
World Tennis Day was a celebration of tennis around the globe. And for USTA Serves, it was a celebration of how tennis can give back to the local community.
USTA Serves, the national charitable foundation of the USTA, raised more than $100,000 at a fundraising reception held in conjunction with World Tennis Day on March 2 at the Essex House Hotel in New York. The money raised at the event is being used to support USTA Serves’ funding of scholarships and programming grants to under-resourced youth at four New York metro National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) chapters.
Tennis stars Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Bob and Mike Bryan, all of whom participated in the BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden the following evening, were special guests at the reception. Other celebrities in attendance included former WTA stars Marion Bartoli and Rennae Stubbs; CBS News correspondent Anthony Mason; TV broadcaster and USTA Serves President Mary Carillo and fellow broadcasters Chris Fowler and Brad Gilbert; and class of 2014 International Tennis Hall of Fame inductees Nick Bollettieri and Jane Brown Grimes.
Also in attendance were USTA First Vice President and TV analyst Katrina Adams; General Manager of USTA Player Development and broadcaster Patrick McEnroe; USTA President and Chairman of the Board Dave Haggerty; and USTA Executive Director & Chief Operating Officer Gordon Smith.
On this night, however, they all took a back seat to kids in attendance from the four NJTL chapters that benefited from the fundraiser: NY Junior Tennis & Learning, Norwalk Grassroots Tennis, Harlem Junior Tennis & Education and NJTL of Trenton. During the reception, the students spoke with guests about their positive experiences with their respective chapters.
Performance artist David Garibaldi highlighted the evening’s festivities by painting two works of art, each in approximately 10 minutes, of the four BNP Paribas Showdown tennis stars. The paintings were then sold at a live auction to help raise money for the scholarships and grants.
Those who made donations to USTA Serves participated in World Tennis Day festivities the following day. They also attended the player press conference and participated in clinics with John and Patrick McEnroe, the Bryans, Djokovic, Murray and Bartoli. Donors were also able to watch the players practice at Madison Square Garden, and children escorted the players on court prior to their matches.
And finally, to cap off World Tennis Day, the Bryans made a surprise $10,000 donation to USTA Serves, which they announced after playing against the McEnroes in the first match of the night.