USTA hosts community events during Fed Cup

Press release from the Untied States Tennis Association: 

As Fed Cup returns to Asheville, the USTA is once again hosting a variety of community events for players and fans of all ages and abilities to turn the United States’ First Round tie vs. Australia February 9-10 into another week-long celebration of tennis and to build on the sport’s growing popularity in Asheville since it first hosted Fed Cup last year.

World No. 17 Madison Keys, No. 23 Danielle Collins, No. 37 Sofia Kenin and doubles No. 13 Nicole Melichar will represent the U.S. in the 2019 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group First Round vs. Australia February 9-10 at the U.S. Cellular Center, the first site to host consecutive Fed Cup ties in the U.S. in 12 years.

In the year since the U.S. defeated the Netherlands in the 2018 Fed Cup First Round at the U.S. Cellular Center last February, tennis participation in Asheville has grown on multiple levels, especially among youth. The impact on tennis in the area since then includes:

A 12-percent overall increase in USTA League participation.A 20-percent increase in annual pass-holders and a 90-percent increase in junior (youth) play at Aston Park Tennis Center, Asheville’s flagship public tennis facility.Increases of 62 percent among juniors and 34 percent among adults participating in July’s Asheville Open Tennis Championships, the longest-running USTA tournament in North Carolina.

Below is a calendar of events leading up to and during the weekend’s matches, once again geared toward engaging the community. All are open to media:

Wednesday, February 6

Net Generation Kids’ Day and U.S. Captain Kathy Rinaldi Press Conference
9 a.m. – 1 p.m.; U.S. Cellular Center Exhibition Hall
The USTA and USTA North Carolina will be hosting 260 kids from Buncombe County elementary schools for special Net Generation clinics. Team USA Captain Kathy Rinaldi will join the clinic at 11 a.m. for her pre-draw press conference. Net Generation is the USTA’s unified youth initiative to inspire the next generation of tennis players. Ingles Markets and Mission Health will support the Net Generation kids’ activities in Asheville.

Friday, February 8

Fed Cup Official Draw Ceremony
12 p.m., U.S. Cellular Center Lobby
Members of the U.S. and Australian Fed Cup teams and several special guests will take part in the official draw ceremony to determine the matchups for the weekend’s competition. The ceremony will be held in the U.S. Cellular Center lobby.

Adaptive Tennis and ‘Try Tennis’ Programs
5-7 p.m., Asheville Racquet Club Downtown
Local organizers will host a free adaptive tennis program for wheelchair players at the Asheville Racquet Club Downtown.
7-9 p.m., Asheville Racquet Club Downtown
USTA North Carolina is also hosting a free ‘Try Tennis’ event at the Asheville Racquet Club, an extension of the program that introduced more than 2,500 players to tennis in the state last year.

Saturday, February 9, and Sunday, February 10

NJTL Net Generation Clinics
9:30 a.m.-12 p.m., U.S. Cellular Center
On Saturday and Sunday, the USTA and USTA North Carolina will be hosting kids from local National Junior Tennis and Learning network (NJTL) organizations. NJTL is made up of more than 350 tennis and education chapters nationwide that are supported by the USTA Foundation through grants, scholarships, and technical assistance. These chapters reach more than 200,000 under-resourced youth on an annual basis. Following the clinics, participants will then attend the matches.

Green Ball, Middle School, and High School Net Generation Clinics
8 a.m.-12 p.m., Multiple locations
At locations off-site, USTA North Carolina will be hosting local middle school and high school players for Net Generation tennis clinics. It will also be hosting a ‘Green Ball’ camp for youth players age 10 and under, which is the highest level of play within the age group. Following the clinics, participants will then travel to the U.S. Cellular Center to attend the matches.

Sunday, February 10

Pride Day Brunch
The Bier Garden
A Pride Day Brunch will be hosted at The Bier Garden ahead of Sunday’s matches and will feature and appearance from a prominent local speaker.

USTA Player Development will also utilize the tie as a development tool for four top American juniors. Fourteen-year olds Katrina Scott (Los Angeles), Reese Brantmeier (Whitewater, Wisc.), Sophie Williams (Charleston, S.C.) and 12-year old Clervie Ngounoue (Washington, D.C.) will train alongside the team with USTA National Coach Richard Ashby.

In addition, local kids involved in the clinics will have a special role in the matches as part of the Net Generation initiative. Prior to the matches, kids will play on stadium court as part of a Net Generation demonstration. Local kids will also escort the players during the Opening Ceremony on Saturday and participate in the coin toss for each match with the chair umpire and competing players.

The USTA has partnered with Explore Asheville, Ingles Markets, Mercedes Benz of Asheville, Mission Health, New Belgium Brewing Company and Omni Grove Park Inn to bring this event to Asheville.

The First Round tie vs. Australia – a best-of-five match series – starts on Saturday, Feb. 9, with two singles matches beginning at 1 p.m. ET. Two reverse singles matches and the doubles match will follow on Sunday, Feb. 10, also beginning at 1 p.m. Fed Cup is the world’s largest annual international team competition in women’s sport, with approximately 100 nations taking part each year.

Keep up with Team USA using hashtag #TeamUSATennis on Facebook (@USTA), on Twitter (@USTA), and on Instagram (@USTA). Wilson is the official ball of the U.S. Fed Cup team. Deloitte is the official team sponsor of the U.S. Fed Cup Team.

- Mountain Xpress