Tennis Hall of Famer, native New Yorker and former world number one John McEnroe has announced that he will open and direct the John McEnroe Tennis Academy, with its inaugural, full-year programs commencing just after the 2010 U.S. Open. The McEnroe Academy will be housed at the new $18 million Sportime at Randall’s Island Tennis Center in New York City. Sportime, owner of 13 tennis and fitness clubs throughout New York State, will operate the club and will partner with McEnroe in the operation of the John McEnroe Tennis Academy.
This announcement is the culmination of McEnroe’s longstanding goal to develop and oversee an academy that will embrace many of the best elements of McEnroe’s own childhood experience, updated for the modern game and based on McEnroe’s unique perspective. As a junior, McEnroe worked with renowned coaches Harry Hopman and Tony Palafox and a world-class, international staff of instructors in a non-residential setting that drew the best and brightest players from all over the New York metropolitan area. The McEnroe Academy will encourage its students to take advantage of the many educational, athletic and cultural opportunities that New York City has to offer.
“For many years, the United States has struggled to develop its next class of elite players," said McEnroe. "I believe that I can inspire young players the way that my coaches inspired me. And I plan to create a system, like the one that I learned in, that supports building an all-around person, as opposed to a tennis machine. My academy, based here in the world’s greatest city, will provide a balance of world-class tennis and fitness training, along with a New York experience, so maybe our kids will be a little more creative, a little more intense, and will be able to think on their feet a little better, like any New Yorker. Over time and with my guidance and that of our hand-picked coaches and pros, I think our students will see great success.”
Rather than a tennis-only approach, the McEnroe Academy will support a balanced training experience for the developing elite player. All or virtually all students who are admitted to the academy will attend a conventional school during the day and will train after school hours and on weekends during the school year. And they won’t be encouraged to play tennis seven days a week. The academy will offer tennis coaching, training and practice, coaching at on and off site tournaments, a fitness component and an academic support team. Students will live in New York City or the surrounding area. The cost of the academy will be determined by each student’s personal plan, and partial and full scholarships will be available based on need and ability. In cases of need, the academy will also provide equipment and apparel, as well as tournament travel and coaching, at no cost to the student. McEnroe has selected former ATP, Olympic and Israeli Davis Cup player Gilad Bloom as the academy’s director of tennis, and he and McEnroe are assembling a top-tier staff of international instructors and coaches.
McEnroe also announced that the Academy will hold open tryouts this July for young persons interested in attending the McEnroe Academy starting in September. One boy and one girl between the ages of eight- and 16-years-old will be selected by McEnroe to receive a full scholarship for a year of training at the McEnroe Academy. The tryouts will be held on July 14 for boys and on July 19 for girls, beginning at 8:30 a.m. each day, at Sportime at Randall’s Island, located at One Randall’s Island in Manhattan. The tryouts will last the entire day for those who progress to the final rounds, and all finalists will be invited to watch McEnroe’s New York Sportimes World TeamTennis team play on the evening of their respective tryout dates. Each day’s winner will receive his/her scholarship award from McEnroe at half time of that evening’s televised match.
On July 14, the date of the boys’ try-outs, the NY Sportimes will battle Billie Jean King’s own Philadelphia Freedom franchise, and that match will feature the first-ever NYC match-up between John McEnroe, playing for NY and Andy Roddick playing for Philly. On July 19, the date of the girls’ try-outs, the Sportimes take on the Albany based NY Buzz and their star Martina Hingis. Playing for the Sportimes that night will be John McEnroe and Kim Clijsters. Details on the tryouts can be found at www.sportimeny.com/JohnMcEnroeTennisAcademy.
For more information, visit www.sportimeny.com/JohnMcEnroeTennisAcademy.