Olympic Coach Zina Garrison to Lead Free Tennis Lesson in New Haven

April 19, 2004 02:23 PM

Will Conduct Lesson For New Haven School Kids May 11th

Zina Garrison at press conference announcing her as the new U.S. Olympic coach© Jennifer Pottheiser
NEW HAVEN, Conn., April 1, 2004 – Zina Garrison, former Top 10 WTA Tour pro and current coach of the U.S. Olympic tennis team, will lead the Pilot Pen Free Tennis Lesson, sponsored by GEICO, for over 300 fourth through eighth graders from City of New Haven schools from 9:30 a.m. until noon on Tuesday, May 11 at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale. The lesson celebrates USA Tennis Month and is one of many year-round programs organized by CT Indoor Clubs, Pilot Pen Tennis and USA Tennis New England to promote tennis in Connecticut.

The lesson, taught by Garrison, Yale University tennis coaches, as well as numerous volunteer teaching professionals from USPTA and PTR, will offer selected New Haven elementary and middle school students an introduction to the basics of tennis and the benefits of exercise. For many of the children, the free lesson is their first opportunity to try their skill at tennis, a sport they may not have been exposed to on their own. During the free lesson, kids will also be encouraged to sign up for the New Haven Parks & Recreation USA Tennis program that begins in June or to visit a local Tennis Welcome Center (www.tenniswelcomecenter.com) for further group instruction.

Garrison, currently the captain of the U.S. Fed Cup team and coach of the United States Olympic Tennis Team, will host the lesson and lead a Q&A session with the kids. Her appearance has been made possible by GEICO, a new 2004 Pilot Pen platinum level tournament sponsor.

“I’m really excited to be part of the Pilot Pen Free Tennis Lesson this year,” said Garrison. “Tennis is a sport that I think all kids should be exposed to – I’m happy to do my part in bringing it to the New Haven community.”

Garrison, 40, was ranked in the top 10 from 1983-90, peaking at No. 4. She retired in 1997 with 37 titles: 14 singles, 20 doubles, and three mixed doubles. When she beat Monica Seles and Steffi Graf to reach the 1990 Wimbledon final, Garrison became the first black woman to reach a Grand Slam championship match since Althea Gibson in 1958. She also is known for being the last player to beat 18-time major champion Chris Evert, eliminating her in the 1989 U.S. Open quarterfinals.

About USA Tennis New England
USA Tennis New England, one of 17 sections of the United States Tennis Association, is a not-for-profit organization committed to promoting the game of tennis by offering quality recreational and competitive programs for people of all ages and abilities. Founded in 1927, USA Tennis New England now boasts 29,000 individual and 400 organizational members and 1,000 volunteers. The web site is www.usatennisnewengland.com.

About Pilot Pen Tennis presented by Michelob ULTRA
“New England’s Premier Women’s Sports Entertainment Event of the Year.” The 2004 Pilot Pen presented by Michelob ULTRA (www.pilotpentennis.com), A USTA Event, will be held August 20-28 at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale. Five of the world’s top-10 and 16 of the top-25-ranked players, including former world #1 players Jennifer Capriati and Lindsay Davenport, Amelie Mauresmo, Daniela Hantuchova and Anastasia Myskina, competed at the 2003 event. A total of 13.5 hours of 2003 Pilot Pen Tennis action were televised nationally on ESPN, ESPN2 and CBS Sports. For information on tickets, travel packages, sponsorships or on how to become a volunteer at the 2004 Pilot Pen, call the Pilot Pen Tennis office at 203/776-7331 or 888/99-PILOT.