It may be the one thing Brian and I are in total agreement on. She's done a huge amount in the southern US to make tennis an option for kids whose parents can't afford the high-priced Florida academies. The 5 Junior Tournaments each fall are just the high visibility part, but the scouting and coaching goes on most of the year. And yes, the "head coach" Jerry Simmons (formerly of LSU) openly admits he'd like a prodigy that he can coach for $ as a pro to emerge, but it's perfectly fair IMO after what he and "Shonda" (Jerry pronounces `it that way, too!) have put into the program. http://www.jstennis.com
Reason #1 why Chanda deserves the Sanex Hero award: her support for developing tennis players. As RD878 mentioned, she's financially supported a series of junior tournaments in the US, so young talents wouldn't have to travel all over the world to get the experience and ranking points, like she had to. She wants to make it easier for other players to develop. The website is listed in RD's post.
I'll be back with another reason tomorrow.
A sneaky ploy to keep this thread bumped up near the top of the forum? You bet.
To make a big comeback on court, and to be a hero, you need a lot of heart. Chanda has a lot of heart. Which brings us to today's tidbit:
Chanda has had a direct, hands-on involvement with the American Heart Association. Her involvement goes beyond fund-raising and donating money. She actually would go to the heart health awareness activities and hand out information pamphlets personally.
A lot of athletes give generously to financially support their favorite causes, and these contributions are very commendable. But it takes a special athlete to take time out of a busy playing/training schedule to give direct hands-on assistance.
One of the areas of tennis Chanda has supported is wheelchair tennis. In fact, she has served has a spokesman for wheelchair tennis. So she's not just supporting potential future tour stars, but also helping to make tennis available for all people to enjoy. On behalf of those of us who are "physically challenged", I say Thanks.
The next on the lengthy list of causes Chanda supports is the Women's Sports Foundation. For those not familiar with it, the WSF was one of the ventures founded by Billie Jean King with the prize money she won defeating Bobby Riggs. Its purpose is to help provide opportunities for girls and women in sports.
To underscore this, they hold an annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day, where several prominent women in the sports world gather. Chanda has been a regular participant/supporter.
Chanda has a soft spot for kids. She has done a lot to help disadvantaged children. Some of these are the children of prison inmates. Chanda has helped out by personally reading to these kids. It means a lot to them to see someone cares about them, especially in troubling times with a parent in prison. She's a very caring person indeed.