US Open draws neighborhood kids

Serena Williams hugs one of the participants from the Elmcor Youth & Adult Community Center during the US Open “Returning the Love” clinic on Aug. 21 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
USTA/Mike LeBrecht

Twenty-three kids from the Elm Cor Youth and Adult Center in Corona, New York, known for its basketball activities, were guests of the United States Tennis Association (USTA) five days prior to the first day of action in the main draw.

The group of youngsters enjoyed playing in the grandstand after the completion of the main singles and doubles draws.

Serena Williams, heavily favored to win the women’s singles title, was on hand for the kids’ exhibition.

State Assemblyman Jeff Aubry led a group of personnel enjoyed watching the potential future stars. Parents of the children, ElmCor’s program director Janice Teatuv and some of her staff accompanied the youngsters who demonstrated their skills on the court.

“This is a great day for the kids and the program,” said Aubry.

“We’re in the shadow of the facility and it was nice for the young people to meet the stars and play on the court, maybe one of them will be back as a real contender.” This is the first time ElmCor is involved with the USTA on this level.

“At first they (the boys and girls) were excited and happy that they got to play with Serena. Then they went on a practice court.”

“The USTA set it up,” added Aubry. “We passed the bill and allowed expansion (to happen). The commitment of the USTA was to reach out to the neighborhood.”

The staff at ElmCor jumped at the chance of allowing such festivities to take place. After Serena went out on the court, all the kids were excited about being at the National Tennis Center.

“They were all excited about being here,” said Teatuv. “A lot of the kids have never been to a tennis court. It was a big deal for them to go home and talk about it.”

ElmCor, with a huge gym facility within its building, is a neighborhood community based organization that has been around for a long time. It started in 1965 and will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2015.

And as far as the National Tennis Center, it would not be too long before a roof will be installed for matches played in inclement weather.

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