Special Olympics athletes at the Volvo Car Open were treated to a day of world class tennis on Come Play Day - check out this and all of the WTA Charities initiatives in Charleston.
Stephanie Livaudais
April 13, 2019

CHARLESTON, SC, USA - On the green clay courts of the Volvo Car Open, it was all about victory - but off the court, it was all about giving back to the community.

From an initiative that makes tennis accessible to a heartwarming hospital visit, check out all the ways that players gave back through WTA Charities in Charleston!

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WTA Charities teamed up with the Special Olympics chapters in Charleston and Savannah, Georgia to host “Come Play” Day, a part of the WTA’s global community initiative to make tennis available to everyone regardless of physical or mental disability.

Participants also included students from Camp Road Middle School and Waldo High School, as well as an adult group from the Mount Pleasant Community Center.

Read more: WTA Charities kicks off Come Play global community initiative

Before hitting the courts, all of the Special Olympics athletes enjoyed a WTA Charities sponsored lunch and took part in a stretch and warm-up session led by WTA physio and trainer Lindsey Elizondo.

Once the players were ready, Anna Lena Groenefeld and Alicja Rosolska were on hand to lead a clinic, where the athletes worked on their baseline skills and volleys - with a bit of help from the pros.

Later on, Ajla Tomljanovic took to the court to lead an ‘adaptive tennis’ lesson in the wheelchair tennis clinic. All of the clinics were hosted by Julie Jilly of the Professional Tennis Registry (PTR), who was on hand to emcee and commentate throughout the day.

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WTA Charities and Tennis Warehouse also made a donation to the Special Olympics chapter in Charleston.

Special Olympics Coaches Jack and Dianne Barker, along with Special Olympian Kylie McFarland, spoke at the WTA Worldwide Tournament Director meeting to talk about tennis at the Special Olympics.

Meanwhile, Mandy Manilla and Andreja Klepac took their giving off of the court, too, when they visited patients at the Medical University of South Carolina.

Along with visiting patients, the player also presented the hospital with WTA Charities’ donation of a VECTA Sensory System for the newly built MUSC Children’s Hospital, which opens later this year in the fall. The VECTA machine helps pediatric patients cope with stress by using music, lights, a bubble column, projector and more to stimulate their senses.

Barbara Rivers, Director of Development at MUSC was on hand to receive the donation.


WTA4Love is the WTA's global philanthropic organization dedicated to making a positive impact across the globe. Our mission is to be a social responsibility vehicle built on the WTA's values to empower and provide for a better future. We're dedicated to combining, strengthening and enhancing the community and charitable efforts of the WTA through its members (players, alumnae and tournaments), along with our partners.

Click here to see more WTA4Love activities!