By Alex Wesley (USTA New England)
Newport, RI – The Dell Technologies Hall of Fame Open for the Van Alen Cup is a true celebration of tennis every year and this summer was no different. USTA New England continued their longtime partnership with the International Tennis Hall of Fame during the tournament from July 16-23, 2017.
The organization had a presence on-site all week at various events, ceremonies and the USTA New England booth. The Net Generation Fan Zone, powered by USTA, provided an opportunity for families to enjoy playing tennis every day for free during the tournament.
“We had so much fun throughout the week. We had hundreds of kids and parents enjoy playing within eye sight of the professional players,” said Christy Bennett, USTA New England Tennis Service Representative for Rhode Island, Cape Cod and the Islands.
Bennett led all on-court activities throughout the week. She added, “Net Generation is the exciting new youth brand from the USTA. It’s a one-stop-shop for all youth tennis programming and this was our first chance to tell families in New England about it. We gave each kid some fun sunglasses to take home to remember the day.”
The Fan Zone was a sneak peak at Net Generation, which is set to officially open to parents and kids to register for tennis starting September 1, 2017. Tennis providers can register themselves and their programs on www.netgeneration.com for free at this time.
On Tuesday, July 18, USTA New England celebrated Member Appreciation Day as well as the No. 1’s Tournament Ceremony. USTA Members were treated to a complimentary lunch and gift on the beautiful Horseshoe Piazza overlooking match play. In between the second and third match, the organization honored the 2016 No. 1 ranked adult tournament players in all age divisions, both singles and doubles, on center court. Each honoree received a medal to commemorate their ranking.
USTA Rhode Island College Tennis Players of the Year were recognized in a similar ceremony on center court on Wednesday. The awards are presented to the male and the female college players of the year who are from the Ocean State, but not necessarily playing at a Rhode Island school. Bryant University redshirt sophomore Matt Kuhar and Colby-Sawyer College junior Evelyn Miller, both from Smithfield, RI, received the award for the 2016-17 school year. Miller was presented with the Jill Craybas Award and Kuhar was presented with the Andy Chase/Gordie Ernst Award by the USTA Rhode Island board of directors.
On Friday, USTA New England hosted a successful wheelchair tennis clinic in the Fan Zone. Players from all over New England traveled to be there. A special guest appearance from International Tennis Hall of Fame 2017 inductee, Monique Kalkman-van den Bosch, highlighted the event.
“We are very proud of the turnout of this first-ever clinic. We had both Wheelchair players and persons who don’t normally play in wheelchairs of all ages playing tennis together, chatting with Monique and overall having a great time,” said Chantal Roche, USTA New England’s Diversity and Inclusion Manager.
Saturday was a busy day for the tournament as the International Tennis Hall of Fame inducted Kim Clijsters, Andy Roddick, Monique Kalkman-van den Bosch, Steve Flink and Vic Braden into the Hall of Fame. To view video highlights from the ceremony, click here. On the same day, top doubles seeds Rajeev Ram (USA) and Aisam ul Haq Qureshi (PAK) won a close match over to defeat the Australian team, Matt Reid and John-Patrick Smith, 6-4 4-6 10-7 to win the doubles title.
The tournament wrapped up on Sunday with the singles finals match between top-seeded John Isner and Australian qualifier Matthew Ebden. Isner used his big serve and never faced a break point throughout the tournament. He defeated Ebden 6-3, 7-6 (4) for his third Hall of Fame Open title. Sunday night, the tournament hosted a PowerShares Legends event featuring Andy Roddick, Mardy Fish, Jim Courier and James Blake. Mardy Fish went home with the win beating Andy Roddick 7-5 in the final.
“It was great to see so many USTA New England members at the events, enjoy a great week of tennis our region. USTA New England is an outstanding partner for the International Tennis Hall of Fame, helping us to make a big week event better for all the fans,” said Brewer Rowe, Assistant Tournament Director. “The new Net Generation experience this year was a great addition to get racquets in kids hands and we look forward to growing these types of programs with USTA New England in the future.”