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USTA SC Holds QuickStart and Wheelchair Tennis Exhibitions at Family Circle Cup

April 16, 2009 07:14 PM

USTA South Carolina hosted a wheelchair tennis exhibition and a Family Night QuickStart Tennis exhibition at the Family Circle Cup on Wednesday, April 15. The events drew hundreds of participants and spectators. Charleston County had several bus loads of school kids at the event, and even the superintendent showed up. The wheelchair tennis exhibition was a smashing success with four world class wheelchair athletes providing some great shots and educational moments for the gathered crowd.

FCC WheelchairThe wheelchair tennis exhibition started off the day’s events at 3:00. Julie Jilly served as the mistress of ceremonies while Bob Masella, Columbia resident, Emperor of Angles and league player, teamed up with Diane Fishburne to take on local pro Crafton Dicus and wheelchair tennis maven Sarah Casteel. The players showed off their moves and wowed the crowd with some spectacular shots and impressive mobility.

After the first exhibition concluded the court was opened so that spectators could have a chance to sit in a sport chair and see just how much skill it takes to whip around the court and turn on a dime to make shots. USTA SC President Ron Charron and USTA SC Executive Director John Sheffield both took to the chairs with decidedly mixed results. Two MUSC physical therapy students also took to the chairs to gain a better perspective on the wheelchair lifestyle.

The wheelchair event concluded with a second exhibition where Masella and Fishburne reunited to take on the team of Dicus and Italian Stallion Alessandro Cianfoni. The players once again showed off their skills and had a great match.

The Kid’s Day events launched at 5:00 and right from the start, kids couldn’t wait to get on the court. Numerous volunteers helped to conduct drills on four 36 ft. courts and a 60 ft. court. The 36 ft. courts helped children as young as three try their hand at tennis using racquets sized to their growing bodies and foam balls that fit their developing coordination. On the 60 ft. courts kids got to try out low compression balls and racquets that were designed help them learn the mechanics of tennis while still having a great time on the court.QuickStart FCC

Hundreds of kids passed through the gates and by the time the event concluded at 7:00 some kids were having so much fun, they had come back through two or three times.

The courts used QuickStart tennis equipment and drills which are designed to help children learn to play tennis in a format that is suited to their size and coordination. There are numerous Rising Stars tournaments around the state that use the QuickStart format and Jr. Team Tennis leagues also incorporate the format for the youngest players.

To see more pictures just click here!

For more information on wheelchair tennis contact Graham Cox at
For information on Jr. Team Tennis contact Michelle Campanella at
If you’re interested in Rising Stars tournaments contact Scottie Rabb at