When it came to celebrating this year's World Tennis Day, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) knew how to do so in style.
For an occasion around which 67 countries hosted special events - including a match at Madison Square Garden between world No. 2 Novak Djokovic and No. 6 Andy Murray - the USTA decided to make history. Bringing together 406 children from local youth organizations, the group took to the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York, and set the record for the largest tennis lesson.
Helping out the cause was a special guest who knows a thing or two about tennis lessons. Judy Murray, mother of reigning Wimbledon champion Andy, was on hand with the goal of inspiring the children and families present to play tennis. For Judy Murray, it also marked a return to the site of where she saw her son win the 2012 US Open at Flushing Meadows.
“Today was a fantastic event and I am delighted to be a part of it,” Murray (below) said. “Anything with getting children involved by playing tennis is great. Tennis is a sport for life – it is a sport you can play with your family and friends, as well as being active."
The USTA said it plans to use the event as a launching pad for thousands of other Tennis Play Events nationwide throughout March, designed to encourage families and children of all ages and skill levels to try tennis.
A day after the attempt, the USTA held a special presentation recognizing the record prior to the BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden. The event featured Murray (Andy, not Judy!) facing Djokovic, and a sibling doubles matchup between the Bryan brothers, Bob and Mike, and the McEnroe brothers, John and Patrick.
“It was a special way to kick-off the thousands of USTA Play Events through the country in March, as well as being part of a record-setting event,” said Dave Haggerty, Chairman, CEO and President of the USTA. “Your first experience is very important and these events are an opportunity to get involved in the sport.”