She dominated the boxing ring for eight years, but yesterday Laila Ali traded in her gloves for a tennis racquet. The former Super Middleweight World Champion delivered a knockout message about staying active and maintaining a healthy lifestyle at a US Open event Monday. Her stop in Queens, New York, helped kick off the United States Tennis Association’s free tennis events during National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.
The USTA is organizing free tennis events around the country this month to motivate families and get them moving. Ali took advantage of Monday’s event to encourage kids to participate in sports.
“I understand the importance of making sports accessible and fun for kids. Children today are likely to live shorter and less healthy lives than their parents. The USTA is trying to change that,” Ali said. “I’m here today to make sure kids know that being active is important and it’s cool.”
The US Open begins today, and if watching the best tennis players in the world compete against one another makes you want to hit the court Wilson has some new gear you might want to check out. At the end of June, the equipment company unveiled its latest Pro Staff rackets, a line it developed with all-time great Roger Federer.
This racket represents the most extensive collaboration between an elite player of Roger’s caliber and Wilson,” says Mike Dowse, Wilson Sporting Goods Co. President. “The result is a groundbreaking racket that will benefit tennis players worldwide.”
Last month, more than 400 other people ages 14 and up stood in line at the Billie Jean King Tennis Center in Queens, New York. They were waiting to be called to the courts for the 2014 US Open ball person tryouts.
For tennis lovers everywhere, it’s a coveted position, the equivalent of a batboy or girl in baseball.
“I have one kid who’s been waiting for three or four years to turn 14 so that they can try out, and this is the first year they’re going to. They can’t wait,” US Open Ballperson director Tina Taps says.
While the job may seem glamorous, there isn’t quite as much time in the spotlight as you might think. Sure, ballpersons often stand on the same court as the Williams sisters, Maria Sharapova, Rafael Nadal, or Novak Djokovic. The only catch is that no one else is supposed to know you’re there.
Ballpeople are asked to remain nearly invisible, keeping their footsteps quiet and their actions unnoticed. That was one of the many things I learned when I went through a version of the ballperson tryout myself.
After picking up her first career WTA singles win in June and advancing to the third round at Wimbledon, SI Kids correspondent Madison Keys returned to the United States. She’ll play in the U.S. Open this week. But before going to New York for that tournament, she had some fun at a couple other events. She explains:More »
Sports Illustrated Kids has a new correspondent: rising tennis star Madison Keys. After jumping to No. 36 in the world rankings last year, the 19-year-old American entered the 2014 season with high expectations — and a whole new perspective on what it takes to make it as a pro.
For the next few months, Madison will give SI Kids an inside view of the international tennis world, from traveling for matches in far-away countries to preparing for Grand Slam tournaments to chatting with some of the sport’s biggest names.
Dedicated readers of SI Kids will know Zepp Labs. Back in April, we included their product Zepp Baseball — a sensor that attaches to the bottom of a bat to provide a player with data on his swing through a mobile app — in our 2014 Baseball Gear Guide. The company also produces a golf sensor and, today, it unveiled its latest gadget, Zepp Tennis.
Andy and Jamie Murray are two of the best tennis players in the world. You might think that they learned the game on a perfect court at some fancy facility. But you’d be wrong.
When they were toddlers growing up in Scotland, their mother, Judy, introduced them to tennis in a creative way. Instead of taking lessons at a club, the Murrays learned the game in their home. They used cereal boxes and cans of beans for nets, and a Ping-Pong ball instead of a tennis ball.
The unconventional introduction to the sport was clearly successful. Andy has won the US Open and Wimbledon championships, and Jamie is an accomplished doubles player.
The takeaway from the Murrays’ story is that you don’t need lessons or expensive gear to learn the sport. It’s a message Judy tries to share through her work with tennis programs in the United Kingdom and the United States.
Today, she is participating in the United States Tennis Association’s World Tennis Day celebration at New York’s Madison Square Garden. The event will feature an exhibition match between Andy Murray and top-ranked Novak Djokovic, as well as host a doubles match between elite doubles players Bob and Mike Bryan and tennis legends John and Patrick McEnroe.