At the 2011 U.S. Open, First Lady Michelle Obama applauded the USTA for engaging millions of children in tennis, introducing tennis into thousands of elementary schools throughout the country, and building more than 2000 right-sized courts that provide a place for young people to play tennis. The USTA’s efforts were part of its partnership with both the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative to encourage more children to become active and lead healthier lifestyles. The USTA exceeded its commitment.
The First Lady was in New York to participate in a USTA 10 and Under Tennis Clinic at the U.S. Open. She was joined by several current and former tennis champions including Billie Jean King, Serena Williams, John McEnroe, James Blake, MaliVai Washington and Katrina Adams, as she thanked children from the Harlem Junior Tennis and Education Program for participating in her Let’s Move! initiative.
“I have been trying to get to the U.S. Open my entire life. I am so incredibly excited to finally be at my first U.S. Open, but I am equally excited and proud to be standing in partnership with the USTA and all they have done for hundreds of thousands of kids across this country. You are an example of what we can do when we put our minds to it,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “I am again grateful to the USTA. The courts you build, these kids sized courts, are just amazing. They will break that barrier; they will make tennis accessible to kids… I am so proud of the USTA.”
Earlier this year, the USTA partnered with the “Let’s Move!” campaign, which helps more kids to get moving, lead healthy lifestyles, and earn their own Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA). The PALA award recognizes kids who stay active for 60 minutes per day, five days a week for six out of eight weeks. Kids are encouraged to play tennis during their program hours and are reminded to stay active at home or in school. PALA’s national goal is to get one million youngsters to take this challenge. To date, the USTA is responsible for providing over 226,634 kids who have participated in and completed PALA through its National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) network, Jr. Team Tennis (JTT) League, Community Tennis Associations (CTA), Schools Tennis, Tennis in the Parks, and Wheelchair Tennis programs.