Venus Williams launched the inaugural Two Nations Challenge at the Westway Tennis centre in London on Friday 21st June.
This unique tennis tournament will see kids from British inner city tennis clubs taking on a United States team from Las Vegas and New York at the Westway Centre in London from 22 – 23 June. The second leg of the Challenge will take place in New York in August, just ahead of the US Open.
Four members of the GB team were invited to participate in a pre-Wimbledon Reebok event with Venus Williams at the Westway Sports Centre at which the Two Nations Challenge was launched.
Roger Draper, Director of Development at the LTA, said: “The Challenge is giving kids from inner cities across Great Britain and the United States the chance to compete internationally, and to visit the two most prestigious tennis tournaments in the world – Wimbledon and the US Open. We are delighted to be working in partnership with the USTA and hope that by sharing ideas, knowledge and experience, we will together be able to offer even better programmes and initiatives for British and US kids.”
The Two Nations Challenge is the highlight of the LTA’s City Tennis Clubs programme – 17 inner city tennis clubs designed to make tennis affordable for all, regardless of social background. The event gives kids from inner cities the opportunity to represent their country at international level, and encourage and inspire other inner city kids to play tennis.
The Two Nations Challenge will be played in two parts, with the first leg of the event taking place in London at the Westway Sports Centre, in North Kensington, and the second leg taking place in New York on the week-end of 23-24 August. The 24 kids, aged 11-16, will take part in singles, doubles and mixed doubles matches.
Ian Wright, former Arsenal and England footballer and official City Tennis Clubs programme ambassador, said: “This is a great opportunity for some of our most talented kids from around the country to take part in a unique challenge against the USA. The fact that the entire GB team has come from City Tennis Clubs, where their social background isn’t a barrier to having a go, is fantastic. I know the team will do us all proud and I wish them the very best of luck.”
Tom Fetzer, Chief Executive of Community Tennis at the USTA, said: “The Two Nations Challenge provides the perfect opportunity for inner-city youth to travel overseas, compete internationally and grow socially and culturally. The USTA and LTA are both committed to ensuring the success of grassroots tennis in our countries and events such as the Two Nation Challenge are invaluable in achieving this. I would also like to thank the Andre Agassi Boys & Girls Clubs of Las Vegas and the USA Tennis National Junior Tennis League for their support.”
Through the City Tennis Club scheme, the LTA works in partnership with local authorities to encourage a new generation of players from all social backgrounds. City Tennis Clubs are part of the LTA’s campaign to make the tennis club environment more welcoming and accessible for players of any age and background with a view to creating more and better tennis players.
Throughout the Two Nations Challenge a Mini Tennis Festival will also take place at the Westway Sports Centre with an estimated 300 children taking part.
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