Great professional tennis happened recently with the World Team Tennis San Diego Aviators on the bright multicolored center court featured at the Omni La Costa Resort and Spa. However, great recreational Net Generation youth tennis also happened at the Aviators’ Kids Zone, a yearly hotspot for young players on the modified “Red” court just steps away from the main event. The Kids Zone is a program sponsored by the USTA Southern California, and it is available before and during Aviators matches.
“It was great fun to host the Kids Zone,” said Melanie Bischoff, the SCTA Director of Community Tennis. “The kids are inspired by the pros and also enjoy playing with their friends.”
The World Team Tennis regular season runs from July 15 to August 2, and Aviators fans will enjoy outstanding play by San Diego hometown stars Taylor Fritz and Coco Vandeweghe along with Naomi Broady (Great Britain), Anna-Lena Groenefeld (Germany), Marcin Matkowski (Poland) and Marcus Willis (Great Britain). The Aviators are led by Coach John Lloyd, who guided the team to its 2016 league championship. The Aviators’ General Manager is Jim Ault, who is an integral part of San Diego tennis leadership, and has been associated with San Diego Tennis & Racquet Club, Barnes Tennis Center and the Bay Club in Carmel Valley.
The fast-paced World Team Tennis format was the brainchild of founder Billie Jean King, whose vision, determination and persistence has made the league an enduring reality. The San Diego franchise was created in 2014 and previously featured the Southern California legendary doubles team of Mike and Bob Bryan. The current addition of the Aviators’ mascot, ACE, has brought additional joy to the event.
The excitement of pro tennis bubbled over to the Aviators-USTA Kids Zone, which hosted a modified “Red” court on an adjacent grass area with an 18-foot net using red felt balls and 23-inch rackets. Dozens of youth ages 2 to 14 rallied, played impromptu recreational games and enjoyed tennis activities before and during Aviators matches.
“USTA So Cal is honored to be a part of the 2018 World Team Tennis Season and it’s a great partnership for both of us, working together to grow the sport,” said Cari Buck, the SCTA Director of Marketing. “Kids can come and hit balls, play games and pose for pictures with our giant tennis racket. Moms and Dads can continue to watch the tennis knowing their kids are safe, a win-win for everyone.”
“I love tennis,” said Eddie Hastings, a finalist in the Boys 12 division of the Little Mo So Cal Sectionals. “My mom is in the stands watching the matches, and I wanted to play here.” Hastings then proceeded to play games with friends that are all active in USTA junior tennis.