Los Angeles, CA - Emirates Airline, title sponsor of the Emirates Airline US Open Series, kicked-off its Racquet Return program at the 2012 Farmers Classic. Spearheaded by Emirates, one of the world’s fastest-growing airlines, the community service program encourages fans to deposit their gently-used tennis racquets into collection bins located on-site at key Series events. Throughout the seven-day tournament, which took place at the University of California at Los Angeles beginning July 22, the program collected nearly 200 racquets, which will be refurbished and donated to the LA84 Southern California Tennis Association/National Junior Tennis & Learning (NJTL) Youth Tennis Program. The 2011 Emirates Airline US Open Series Champion, Mardy Fish helped launch the Racquet Return program with a kids’ clinic including more than 20 kids from the NJTL.
"We are extremely pleased with the results of the Racquet Return program at the Farmers Classic," said Orhan Abbas, Emirates Airline Senior Vice President of Commercial Operations for the Americas. "Los Angeles has a vibrant tennis community and we are proud to have enabled even more children to play the game and to have the opportunity to develop their skills."
Additionally, Emirates, is partnering with USTA Serves, the National Charitable Foundation of the USTA to make a $10,000 donation to the LA84 Southern California Tennis Association/NJTL, which strives to instill a love for the game of tennis in economically disadvantaged children, and provide them with an opportunity to play, compete and to develop good sportsmanship. Founded in 1969, the NJTL was the brainchild of former tennis champs Arthur Ashe and Charlie Pasarell, along with businessman Sheridan Snyder, and provides at-risk youth with positive role models, academic assistance, and health and life skills that will help fight obesity, prevent substance abuse and school dropouts.
Emirates Airline will conduct the Racquet Return Program in other key markets throughout the 2012 Emirates Airline US Open Series, including New Haven (New Haven Open at Yale) and New York (US Open).
About the Emirates Airline US Open Series - Now in its ninth season, the Emirates Airline US Open Series continues to serve as a true regular season of hard court tennis, linking 10 summer tournaments to the US Open. Fans follow the action throughout the summer during national broadcast coverage while players battle for $40 million, including a chance for bonus prize money at the US Open. The Series collectively reached a U.S. television audience of 39 million and drew more than 800,000 on-site fans in 2011. In 2012, Emirates Airline became the title sponsor of the Series, as well as the official airline of the US Open. The Emirates Airline US Open Series is also supported by sponsors American Express, Chase, Citizen Watch Company, Esurance, evian and Gatorade.
Americans Mardy Fish and Serena Williams swept the 2011 Emirates Airline US Open Series men’s and women’s titles. In 2007, Roger Federer collected the biggest paycheck in tennis history – $2.4 million – for winning the US Open and the Emirates Airline US Open Series. In 2005, Kim Clijsters also captured both the US Open and the Series, winning $2.2 million – the largest purse in women’s sports history – and equaled that amount in 2010, winning the US Open and finishing the Emirates Airline US Open Series in second place.
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About Emirates Airline - Emirates currently serves 125 cities around the globe with a young and technologically advanced fleet of 179 wide-bodied aircraft that are equipped with industry-leading comforts in the air. Additionally, Emirates has 225 wide-bodied aircraft on order, worth more than US$62 billion, and is the leading customer of the Airbus A380, with 22 in its fleet and 68 on order.
Renowned for its excellence in service and innovation, both on board and on the ground, Emirates holds an impressive array of prestigious awards, most recently including Air Transport World's 2011 "Airline of the Year" award and Frommer's selection of the Emirates Lounge at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport as one of the 2011 "Top Airport Lounges in North America."
Emirates was also awarded the "World's Best Airline In-flight Entertainment" for the eighth year at the 2012 Skytrax World Airline Awards. Additionally, Fast Company magazine ranked Emirates on "The Fast Company 50" list in 2009 as one of the "World's Most Innovative Companies."
About The USTA - The USTA is the national governing body for the sport of tennis in the U.S. and the leader in promoting and developing the growth of tennis at every level -- from local communities to the highest level of the professional game. A not-for-profit organization with more than 750,000 members, it invests 100% of its proceeds in growing the game. It owns and operates the US Open, the highest attended annual sporting event in the world, and the Emirates US Open Series linking 10 summer tournaments to the US Open. The USTA philanthropic entity, USTA Serves Incorporated, provides grants and scholarships and helps underserved youth and people with disabilities. For more information on the USTA and USTA Serves, log on to usta.com, "like" the official Facebook page facebook.com/usta or follow @usta on Twitter.
For more information/images, contact:
Chris Widmaier, Managing Director, Communications, USTA