Challenger Stars Give Back In Tallahassee
The Tallahassee tennis community has been hosting professional players on the ATP Challenger Tour this week, while also inspiring the future generations with a series of events.
Over 500 children aged 10 and under, from local elementary schools, were introduced to the game of tennis through one-hour long sessions.
World No. 136 Tennys Sandgren and quarter-finalist at the $75,000 Challenger Bradley Klahn passed on their expertise during the tennis clinics, before the children were offered the opportunity to attend the tournament to watch elite players in action.
“That was fantastic, it was really nice to be a part of the event,” said Sandgren. “Here in Tallahassee they do a great job with getting the community involved and getting school children into tennis.
“There’s always great crowd support here and I enjoy staying with the same family each year. It’s just a nice place to keep coming back to.”
Klahn, who ousted eighth seed Maximo Gonzalez en route to the quarter-finals (l. Arnaboldi), echoed Sandgren’s sentiment.
“It’s awesome to be able to give back at these tournaments,” added Klahn. “It’s a huge benefit to the game to get so many kids playing the game. Everyone starts somewhere and we’ve been so fortunate to have tennis in our lives. To give the gift of tennis back this week is really awesome.
“The fans, the tournament, the staff, the volunteers are all so friendly and make us all so welcome. They all put in a great effort into the event and I really appreciate that.”
On Friday, the ATP Challenger Tour event in Tallahassee also hosted a Special Olympics Tennis Carnival.
250 Special Olympians of all ages from Leon County schools were given a tennis taster by Leander Paes and Neal Skupski.
“It was a lot of fun to come out and motivate the young kids,” said Paes, who lifted the Tallahassee doubles title along with Scott Lipsky. “To make sure we bring them some happiness is a real treat.”