Each year, the Johnny Mac Tennis Project (JMTP), a 501(c)(3) founded by tennis legend John McEnroe, hosts a pro-am event in the Hamptons to raise money in support of the charity’s mission of providing free community and school programs and scholarships to the John McEnroe Tennis Academy to under-resourced, talented and deserving children in New York City.
Like everything else this year, the 2020 JMTP Pro-Am was a bit different than in the event’s previous years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, a brutal weather forecast forced the event to be pushed back a day. Despite these potential road blocks, JMTP put on a one-of-a-kind event at SPORTIME Amagansett.
“The 2020 Johnny Mac Tennis Project’s 6th annual Pro-Am was the most gratifying yet,” said Claude Okin, SPORTIME Clubs’ President and Chief Executive Officer. “COVID-19 took away our annual who’s who of tennis legends, locked JMTP leaders, John and Patrick McEnroe, in the U.S. Open bubble, and caused us to dramatically pare down the event to assure social distancing. We had to ask our friends and supporters to focus on the charity, and on the tennis, more than the hoopla, and then we had our first rain date! Despite all the challenges, we had 112 committed pros and amateurs, played great tennis crowned amazing champions, and raised over $200,000 for JMTP’s deserving NYC tennis kids.”
While the event is JMTP’s primary annual fundraiser, providing essential support towards its mission to provide high-quality tennis programming to young NYC players who could not otherwise afford it, this year’s event was also symbolic of the resiliency of the local tennis community.
“Considering that we almost cancelled the event, we are all very relieved at how well JMTP did,” added Okin. “As Johnny Mac likes to say, ‘NYC is the greatest city in the world’, and, although some New Yorkers are in the Hamptons and elsewhere right now, JMTP is all about supporting under-resourced NYC kids and changing their lives through tennis. And NYC is not going anywhere, nor is SPORTIME or the John McEnroe Tennis Academy, or our important and growing charitable partnership with the Johnny Mac Tennis Project. I think in the end that is what the Pro-Am represented this year for a lot of the folks who played and volunteered. It was really awesome.”
In a year that has been so unpredictable and, at times, hard to bear, the Pro-Am was a reminder of the impact tennis can have on so many lives. The outpouring of support demonstrates just how important it is to have tennis back in the fold, both on Long Island and in New York City.
Said Jordan Botjer, Executive Director of the Johnny Mac Tennis Project, “We are moved by how many sponsors, pros, amateurs and volunteers rallied to support the event and to raise critical funds to help JMTP remove social, economic and racial barriers to success through tennis.”
You can learn more about the Pro-Am and all the great work that JMTP does year-round by visiting www.JMTPNY.org.