Keys Unveils New Courts In Hometown
Published August 19, 2013 12:01
ROCK ISLAND, IL, USA - WTA rising star Madison Keys travelled back to her old stomping grounds for a very special event this past Friday, joining with American Express and the USTA to unveil three brand new tennis courts at the Hodge Park Community Tennis Courts in her hometown of Rock Island.
The event at the Hodge Park Community Tennis Courts was part of the Fresh Courts program, a community funding effort in which American Express and the USTA invest in developing new fans, players and champions by renovating existing tennis facilities in communities across the US.
For the first time, American Express and the USTA collaborated with its player partners to identify community tennis courts that they would like to see refurbished - Keys herself chose the Rock Island community courts because of the support that her hometown has given her throughout her career, as after all, Keys actually began to play tennis at age four and a half on the free community courts.
"I am really proud to be here today to help support this Fresh Courts program created by USTA and American Express, and to help support tennis communities like this, especially the one here in Rock Island where I grew up," Keys told the crowd at the ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday afternoon.
"It is an exciting afternoon here in Rock Island as we proudly welcome home Madison Keys who is here today to unveil a beautiful refurbishment of several of our tennis courts here in Hodge Park," said Dennis Pauley, Mayor of Rock Island, at the ceremony. "One of the great things about the partnership between the USTA and American Express is that they were able to refurbish this park and really help the community and help us accomplish things we might not normally have the resources to undertake."
American Express and the USTA cut the ribbon to unveil the three newly refurbished tennis courts, and Keys then jumped on the court to host a tennis clinic with 80 local kids, hitting and then autographing tennis balls for them. The renovations included refurbishing the three 78' existing tennis courts to create three 78' tennis courts with 36'/60' blended lines designed specifically for youth players.
Since it began in 2010, the Fresh Courts program has worked to refurbish more than 80 tennis courts in local communities across the US. Fresh Courts refurbishments projects are facilitated by the USTA's Facility Assistance department and funded by American Express. This renovation project, which began in early August, was completed in conjunction with the US Open, which starts in just one week.