Over 100 junior tennis players converged on the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park tennis courts last week to join tennis pro Thomas Blake for an instructional clinic hosted by CityParks Tennis and Coca Cola.
Blake gave personal tips to several players about how to improve their game, specifically schooling them on the basic forehand, backhand, serve and volley techniques that have helped him achieve success. “I’m just trying to give them basic fundamentals – move your feet, get set up early – mainly I’m just trying to stress that people have fun out here,” Blake said.
CityParks Tennis, a program run by the City Parks Foundation, provides lessons to kids of all ages and at all levels of play through its partnerships with Chase Bank, LaCoste and Coca Cola. The program is designed to make the sport less cost-prohibitive for interested young players.
The need for the CityParks Tennis program was highlighted at the event when John Ellis and his wife Dr. Meryem Bencheikh approached Blake asking him to advocate for lower court fees at New York City’s public parks.
“The USTA is making a push to get young children involved,” Blake said. “Obviously it’s been a long time since an American won there. I’ll certainly advocate that if I can.”