DPR Media Contact: John Stokes, (202) 288-7275, email@example.com
Washington, DC - Over the weekend one of tennis’ rising new stars, 15-year-old Taylor ‘Woodie’ McKnight, participated in the 2012 US Open Kick Off Event. McKnight is one of the DC Department of Parks and Recreations’ (DPR) Southeast Tennis and Learning Center (SETLC) tennis scholars. He defeated 5 junior players from across the United States in the Heavy Hitters Competition on Saturday, August 25th to advance to the “Xerox Beat the Pros / Target Time” competition where McKnight, the only “non professional athlete”, competed with world champion tennis players Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Andy Roddick and Kim Clijsters.
An annual event since 1993, Arthur Ashe Kids Day (AAKD) traditionally kicks off the US Open held at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center and is held in honor of the late Arthur Ashe. Ashe was the first US Open champion of the Open Era and the founder of the National Junior Tennis & Learning (NJTL) network. Founded in 1969 by Ashe, Charlie Pasarell and Sheridan Snyder, the NJTL strives to reach young people in urban areas and "teach them about matters more important than tennis."
Taylor ‘Woodie’ McKnight, the only youth tennis player represented, competed with Federer, Williams, Roddick and Clijsters in a singles “beat the clock” race to hit tennis balls on any one of the six targets on the opposite side of the net, within :30 seconds. McKnight gave an impressive performance on the court, was awarded a trophy and raised $14,000 for the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center (SETLC). The Kids’ Day stadium show, including the “Xerox Beat the Pros” competition, aired on Sunday, August 26, 2012 in the United States on CBS from 12-1:30 p.m. (ET).
Affectionately called Woodie by his friends and family, Taylor McKnight has been playing tennis since the age of 3, and he is the son of Jeanine McKnight and the late Dr. Arnold W. McKnight. The SETLC was founded by Cora Masters Barry and Dr. McKnight was the first Site Director for the center. In 2007, Dr. McKnight passed away and Woodie immediately withdrew from playing tennis completely, however Woodie recently returned to the game of tennis and thus far he has had amazing matches and competitions. McKnight’s performance on the court alongside these Olympic, US Open, Wimbledon, French Open and Australian Open winners is an amazing accomplishment and honor for any tennis player of any age.
Taylor ‘Woodie’ McKnight was accompanied to the Arthur Ashe Kids Day in New York with eleven other SETLC tennis scholars, ranging in ages from 9 years old to 16 years old. AAKD included activities that ranged from the Nike Tennis SPARQ Challenge; USRSU Pro Racquet Round Up; the IBM Speed Zone; and of course, the Xerox Beat the Pro competition. Tennis scholars that attended were selected based on their excellent and consistent participation throughout the year, in the SETLC programs which emphasize excellence in academics as well as athletics.
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