Tennis Block Party to launch programs at Coral Reef Park

By Gary Alan Ruse….

Palmetto Bay resident Masako Okada blasts one over the net during a lesson with Friends of Miami Tennis Inc. as Paula Martins of Pinecrest looks on.

The Village of Palmetto Bay lost no time in establishing a new tennis program at its Coral Reef Park facility, run by Friends of Miami Tennis Inc., a USTA Community Tennis Association. The group wants to welcome everyone interested in tennis to a free Tennis Block Party on June 5.

Cyndi Johnston, the new director of tennis at Coral Reef Park, is looking forward to the event.

“We are hosting the Tennis Block Party to invite all residents to come out and enjoy our beautiful tennis facility,” Johnston said. “All tennis enthusiasts will have the opportunity to meet the staff from Friends of Miami Tennis.

“Different games and activities will be offered on court for all ages and levels. There will be free food and drinks plus a chance to win prizes. Local sponsors and vendors will be off court, located in the grassy area. They will have some free giveaways to share with the community. For example, Papa John’s will be serving pizza.”

Johnston said that they will have staff on hand to answer any questions about programming or the new summer camp, which begins June 13. It will be possible to register for the camp during the event as well. “Our event will be showcasing ‘10-andunder format,’ a new way to introduce tennis to the little ones and also our USTA Jr. Team Tennis league players,” Johnston said. “So far we have over 40 children from Palmetto Bay competing in this league which includes children ages 4-18. Our parents are thrilled to have their kids play on these beautiful courts and have a home advantage.” Johnston said that Friends of Miami Tennis will offer adult clinics during the day and evening, junior clinics including the 10-and-under format by using low compression balls, and also competitive high performance clinics for the juniors who compete in local and sectional tournaments.

“We are planning on engaging our local residents by offering competitive tennis ladders, adult round-robin socials, parents night out parties for the juniors and ‘Rock and Roll’ cardio tennis beginning this summer as well as our tennis summer camp,” Johnston said.

“We are fortunate to have such a prestigious organization running the program here,” said village communications director Bill Kress.

Friends of Miami Tennis Inc. is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization committed to enhancing a diverse community through the healthy lifestyle of tennis.

USTA Florida Tennis program coordinator Cathy Nordlund is determined to make the program better than ever.

“We want Coral Reef Tennis to be where the whole family comes and plays and enjoy this lifetime sport of tennis,” Nordlund said. “This park is very special to me since I have lived in Palmetto Bay all my life and brought my children and now my grandchildren to play. I look forward to assisting them with bringing USTA programming to the tennis facility, especially our new 10-and-under tennis.

“I also will be working with the village to inform them of the grant opportunities that are available to them through our USTA Florida ‘Share the Love’ grant,” she added. “I am proud to say as of today we have given out over $60,000 to our local facilities and programs here in Miami.”

For more information, call Cyndi Johnston at 305-582-8805.

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