February 24, 2009

News Release

For Immediate Release

Tennis Night In America Local Activities

The Springfield-Greene County Park Board will participate in the inaugural “Tennis Night In America” Sunday, March 1 and Monday, March 2, as part of the first-ever United States Tennis Association’s National Youth Tennis Registration Night initiative at more than 700 tennis locations across the nation.

Free local activities will include opportunities for all ages to try the sport of tennis, receive group tennis instruction from local tennis professionals, register for programs, win prizes, and receive a 10% discount on Park Board spring and summer tennis programs.

All-age instruction (minimum 5 years of age) will be provided at the following sites from 3 – 5 p.m., Sunday, March 1:

The Park Board’s School-Parks Are Reaching Communities (SPARC) section will provide youth instruction at the following site from 4 – 5 p.m., Monday, March 2:

“We are hosting the tennis activities at a number of locations to make it more convenient for everyone in all parts of Springfield to experience the sport,” said local program coordinator Steve Webb. “We have a number of indoor and outdoor courts throughout town, so we encourage those who might be interested to visit the site closest to where they live. Using the national Quick Start program approach, we slow down the game by decreasing the air pressure in the tennis balls and incorporate other practices to get a player at any level immediately playing the game.”

Monday, March 2 will also feature a winner-take-all “BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean King Cup” at New York’s Madison Square Garden. The Showdown features four of the top women’s players in the world—10-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams, two-time defending Wimbledon champion Venus Williams, reigning French Open champion Ana Ivanovic and 2008 year-end No. 1 Jelena Jankovic—playing in a one-night, single-elimination tournament for the inaugural Billie Jean King Cup before a live national TV audience on HBO.

Tennis participation in the U.S. has grown more than any other traditional sport since 2000. According to the annual research survey conducted for the Tennis Industry Association and the USTA by the Taylor Research Group, nearly 26.9 million people played tennis in 2008, the highest number of participants in 15 years. That marked a 7 percent increase over the prior year and an increase of more than 30 percent since 2000. In addition, the number of new tennis players increased by 3 percent last year, to more than 5.9 million.

For more information on Tennis Night in America, or to find the site closest to where you live, visit www.tennisnight.com. Registration is appreciated for all of the locations above by calling (417) 837-5800.

For more information, media contact: Steve Webb, Local Program Coordinator, (417) 837-5800; Sandra Pratt, SPARC Administrator, (417) 837-5707; or Bob Nelson, Public Information Administrator, (417) 874-2176.