Teaching Tennis

One of the greatest tennis champions of all time–Billie Jean Moffitt King–is a Long Beach native, and honed her skills on the city’s courts. On July 3, 2010, ESPN aired “Homecoming with Rick Reilly,” filmed at the Billie Jean Moffitt King Tennis Center. During the interview, Ms. King indicated that her success stemmed from the city’s public-tennis programs that gave her an opportunity not available in other communities. Ms. King built Long Beach’s reputation as a tennis community, which has led to the city’s hosting professional World Team Tennis (WTT) at the center this summer, with a match between the WTT’s Newport Beach Breakers and the Springfield Lasers. WTT tennis features the biggest names in tennis playing on co-ed teams.

Partnerships

Tennis in Long Beach is also successful due to partnerships with community organizations. The Southern California Tennis Association (SCTA) named First Serve Tennis Inc. and Jacobson-Guzy its 2009 Member Organization of the Year. According to Henry Talbert, Executive Director of SCTA, “First Serve’s leadership and expertise while assisting in programs conducted by the Southern California Tennis Association have enhanced the level of programs, and have provided players with an environment in which they can compete and excel.”

First Serve works with the Long Beach Unified School District to host the annual Moore League Tennis Championships that determine the top high-school tennis teams in the Greater Long Beach area. First Serve has also hosted the Southern California Special Olympics Games tennis events at El Dorado Park Tennis Center.

The corporation has also partnered with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to offer free lessons for youth, and with the National Junior Tennis League to offer free clinics in parks where tennis participation has not been a tradition. First Serve also donates courts for the Deaf & hard of hearing Educational Athletic Foundation, an innovative grassroots program designed to teach life’s lessons to deaf and hard of hearing children through tennis, which improves their overall well-being and quality of life.

In Long Beach, tennis can be a part of anyone’s life, providing opportunities for fitness, friendships and fun. For more information about Long Beach Tennis Programs, visit www.longbeachtennis.com.

Jane Grobaty is the superintendent of Community Information for the City of Long Beach Department of Parks, Recreation and Marine. She can be reached at jane.grobaty@longbeach.gov

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