City Parks Foundation’s annual CityParks Tennis Benefit, co-chaired by Billie Jean King and John McEnroe, and hosted by Mary Carillo will be held Tuesday, Aug. 31 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. The event raises important funds for CityParks Tennis, a free youth instructional program that serves more than 8,000 children in parks throughout New York City each season.
Held each year at the U.S. Open, the event features a cocktail party, dinner, silent and live auction, and tickets to the matches. The festivities will open with live music by John McEnroe and his band. This year, City Parks Foundation has chosen to honor renowned tennis instructor Nick Bollettieri with the 2010 Vitas Gerulaitis Community Service Award for his commitment to tennis education. Benjamin Doller from Sotheby’s will conduct a live auction where guests can bid to win a trip to Wimbledon 2011, two round trip tickets to Bermuda, courtesy of JetBlue, a five night stay at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess Hotel, and two tickets to the 45th Annual Super Bowl in Dallas.
Also honored at this event will be Chris-Brian Amedjonekou, the recipient of the 2010 Billie Jean King Junior Achievement Award. This award is given to promising junior tennis players in recognition of their achievement and dedication to the sport. Alongside of this highly recognized achievement, he will also receive a week of complimentary tennis training at Nick Bollettieri’s Tennis Academy.
Sixteen-year-old Chris-Brian Amedjonekou started playing tennis at the age of 11 at Liberty Park in South Jamaica, Queens. For the past two years, Amedjonekou has participated in City Parks Foundation’s Junior Tennis Academy, a scholarship tournament-training program for 50 talented NYC juniors. Last year, he played in his first junior tournament. Amedjonekou currently attends the Queens Gateway to Health Science Public School and although his school does not have a tennis team, he has set his sights on earning a college tennis scholarship when he graduates.
“CityParks Tennis teaches children the fundamental skills to succeed within the sport and the showcases the discipline necessary to succeed in life,” said David Rivel, executive director of City Parks Foundation. “We look forward to educating more of NYC’s youth in this lifelong activity.”
CityParks Tennis, one of the largest municipal tennis programs in the country, provides free tennis lessons and activities to 8,000 kids ages 5-17 in 40 parks citywide. CityParks Tennis also features an advanced training academy, which offers talented youth with financial need the opportunity to bring their game to a higher level of competition. Hundreds of academy graduates have earned college athletic scholarships as well as sectional and national rankings. Several graduates of the academy have played in the junior division at the U.S. Open and academy graduate, Irina Falconi is playing in the women’s main draw this