Tryouts Took Place at Harlem’s storied Frederick Johnson Playground Tennis Courts
John McEnroe was impressed by 15-year-old American qualifier Coco Gauff's run to the Wimbledon fourth round this month.
This week, the Hall of Famer hit Harlem in his continuing quest to find the next young phenom from New York City.
In pursuit of that goal, McEnroe, Sportime, and the Johnny Mac Tennis Project (JMTP) hosted a tryout session yesterday for children ages 6 to 14 interested in attending the John McEnroe Tennis Academy (JMTA) training program at Sportime Randall’s Island.
The tryout took place at Harlem’s storied Frederick Johnson Playground Tennis Courts on Adam Clayton Powell Jr., Boulevard at West 150th Street.
“I grew up in Queens, and obviously it’s exciting to see tennis revitalized here in New York City," said JMTP/JMTA Founder and Director John McEnroe, “Tennis teaches many life skills, and it’s is a game you can play all your life, so it feels great to be able to introduce more young people to the sport.
"Of course, the ultimate satisfaction would be to have a kid from the Bronx or Harlem or Queens train with us and go on to win the US Open. And that’s what we’re trying to do!”
Since JMTP’s founding, over 5,000 young New Yorkers in communities adjacent to Randall's Island have enjoyed free, school-based, programs offered at the SPORTIME/JMTA facility.
In addition, JMTP and Sportime have awarded over 250 scholarships to children who live in those communities, many of whom were introduced to the sport through JMTP programming, as well as to others throughout the city.
“Through the Johnny Mac Tennis Project, we're able to work with kids who might not otherwise have access to tennis,” said JMTP/JMTA Co-Director Patrick McEnroe. “And we welcome tennis lovers to help us by getting involved in various ways.
"We just had a great comedy fundraiser at Caroline's of Broadway this spring with top comedians and coming up on August 24th we're holding our annual Pro-Am tournament on Long Island. It’s a great way to support the JMTP cause, connect with other tennis fans and support the sport all year long.”
In 2010, Hall of Famer McEnroe and Sportime partnered to launch the John McEnroe Tennis Academy in John’s hometown of New York City, located at Sportime's flagship Randall's Island Tennis Center in Manhattan.
By 2012, JMTA had expanded to Sportime locations in Eastchester, Westchester and to its high-performance training Center in Syosset, Long Island.
The Johnny Mac Tennis Project (JMTP) changes young lives by removing the economic and social barriers to success through tennis. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit, JMTP introduces the sport of tennis as a life-long health, fitness and social activity to thousands of under-resourced New York City area kids, particularly those living in East Harlem and the South Bronx, two communities adjacent to the JMTP program at Sportime Randall’s Island.