The WTA’s community outreach program, Come Play presented by Morgan Stanley, returned at the Credit One Charleston Open for a week of activities using the sport of tennis to foster diversity, equity and inclusion.
Morgan Stanley joined the initiative, which started in 2018, after announcing a new multi-year global partnership with the WTA earlier this year. With a shared vision for expanding access to the game of tennis, the two organizations were proud to join the Credit One Charleston Open team to bring a week of inclusive events to the Lowcountry.
Throughout the week, the WTA continued the WTA Coach Inclusion Program which was launched in 2022 to attract, develop, and retain female tennis coaches and to break down barriers and provide opportunities for women looking to enter coaching at the professional level.
The WTA and Morgan Stanley hosted five female coaches at the tournament who shadowed and worked alongside current WTA coaches and players during the week. They also took part in a mentoring session with Pam Shriver and Alice Milligan, Chief Marketing Officer at Morgan Stanley.
“We hope this program can bring more qualified, great coaches into the game who as females understand what women can bring to the table,” said Shriver, WTA Legend and current coach of Donna Vekic. “There’s no reason why women who want to have this as a profession shouldn’t have this as a pathway to coach at the highest, elite level to the players on the WTA Tour.”
On Monday, the Credit One Charleston Open hosted the Tennis in the City clinic for 60+ youths at the Jack Adams Tennis Center in Charleston to provide quality tennis instruction to kids who may otherwise not have been exposed to the sport.
Morgan Stanley brand ambassador, Leylah Fernandez and other WTA players Alycia Parks, Magda Linette and Caty McNally, as well as members of the College of Charleston men’s and women’s tennis teams attended the clinic to lead and participate in the activities. Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg, Charleston City Council Member Kevin Shealy and Milligan were also in attendance to coach and cheer on the participants.
The Come Play events continued on Wednesday as the WTA and Morgan Stanley hosted the Special Olympics Rockin’ Racquets chapter at the Credit One Charleston Open to support and inspire their global inclusion movement to end discrimination against and empower people with intellectual disabilities.
The athletes were treated to a lunch onsite and a clinic with Grand Slam champion, Victoria Azarenka, where a donation from Morgan Stanley and WTA Charities was presented. Alice Milligan and Charleston Special Olympics athlete Kylie MacFarland also participated in the honorary coin toss for the 7pm match on Tuesday.
“It’s such a privilege to team up with the WTA on the Come Play program and see the incredible impact it has in inspiring the next generation of tennis players and giving everyone a shot at success,” said Milligan, CMO of Morgan Stanley. “Thanks to the city of Charleston for an incredible kickoff and we can’t wait to take the program on the road to positively impact the lives of aspiring athletes of all abilities around the globe!”
The week of inclusive events at Charleston was the beginning of a year long series that will see the WTA Come Play presented by Morgan Stanley program brought to communities around the world to provide access and opportunity using tennis as a platform.
To learn more about WTA Charities or make a donation, visit http://wtacharities.wtatennis.com.