Tennis Legends Billie Jean King and John McEnroe Rally on Hudson River Barge to Kick Off National Tennis Month

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., May 06, 2009 – Tennis legends Billie Jean King and John McEnroe have played tennis all over the world and on all surfaces. Now they can add a new venue to the list: a barge floating on the Hudson River in New York City. In a day-long celebration to kick off National Tennis Month, King and McEnroe spent the afternoon volleying back and forth in front of the Manhattan skyline, with photographs and video taken to document this unique meeting of the two great champions.  They capped the afternoon with a visit to the Statue of Liberty and New York’s South Street Seaport.

“National Tennis Month is a perfect way to get focus on our game,” said King. “It gets the beginners started and serves as a friendly reminder to get your racquet and head back to the tennis court.

“New York City is where I’m from, so we’re in a setting that is second-to-none to jump start National Tennis Month,” said McEnroe.  “For me, it’s about getting even more kids playing our sport.”

National Tennis Month is the annual celebration of the outdoor tennis season and part of an industry-wide initiative to increase tennis participation in the United States. And the 12th anniversary of National Tennis Month arrives at a great time for tennis. Recent data from the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association shows that tennis is the fastest-growing traditional sport in the country, with participation increasing 43% since 2000 and 9.6% in the last year alone.

Throughout the month, the USTA will conduct events nationwide to promote tennis, celebrate its growth and increase participation in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Headlining these efforts will be a series of “Tennis Block Parties.” Hosted at public parks, schools and tennis facilities, “Tennis Block Parties” will feature tennis instruction provided by skilled teaching professionals and special guests, and will also include interactive games and attractions offering participants the opportunity to simultaneously learn and enjoy the many benefits of the sport.

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