By Amber Anderson
While Chicago is a very big and competitive Sports city, tennis has been one of the sports that is underappreciated and less competitive. What we are now learning is that this outlook on the sport of tennis will change very soon.
In 2008, Kamu Murray started the XS Tennis Foundation with the mission to reach and support Chicago’s underserved youth through tennis, making the game more accessible to them. This past Friday (July 27th), the World Team Tennis hosted a private tennis clinic hours before the game for Chicago youth at XS Tennis Village, which is located in the Washington Park neighborhood on 53rd and State.
Students were given the opportunity to practice and learn from XS Tennis coaches and tennis legend Billie Jean King. They were also able to meet Philadelphia Freedoms players Sloane Stephens and Taylor Townsend. Townsend, a Chicago Native, gave her opinion on making the game of tennis more accessible to students specifically on the Southside of Chicago. She believes that XS Tennis is doing a great job at providing opportunities to students to have more access to the game. “It just gives people an opportunity to have access to the sport in a place that’s safe, comfortable, and affordable.”
When she is in Chicago, she is fully involved and active in the community. She takes the time to hit a few balls and host clinics for kids to be able to come in and improve their game. Townsend wants kids to stay inspired and to persevere through the obstacles that may come with playing the game of tennis. “It’s not all about winning and losing, it’s a community; it’s about finding you...finding out who you are.”
Tennis is making a big return to the city of Chicago. In September 2018, the city will be hosting the Laver Cup (September 21st-23rd) at the United Center. This will be the first professional tennis event in Chicago for over twenty years!
With the help of XS Tennis and Lavar Cup coming to Chicago, the game of tennis has the chance to become more competitive and even more accessible to the people of Chicago especially the youth, providing additional outlets for children to tap into talents and gifts yet undiscovered.