Legendary Day

March 10, 2010 01:10 PM

Alvernia University in Reading, Pa., played host to some of the game’s biggest names and some of the game’s rising stars on Saturday March 6 at the 2010 Legends of Tennis Exhibition.

The premier special event fundraiser for the Berks County Chapter of the American Red Cross was headlined by Olympic heroes and Grand Slam champions Lindsay Davenport, Gigi Fernandez, Ken Flach and Mel Purcell. All four pros provided interesting commentary and entertaining antics while being miked up for the hundreds in attendance.

The legends teamed-up with Berks County juniors Victoria Foanio, Mitch Gettis, Matt Hope, Zach Kramer, Dan Malloy, Lauren Zezenski as well as Nationally-ranked USTA players Audrey Ann Blakely and Cara Wirth in a fun-filled, round robin competition.

2010 marked the 14th year that world-class tennis legends – including Monica Seles, John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova and many others – have competed in Berks County to benefit the Red Cross.

Another interesting component of the event was a QuickStart tennis clinic administered on court prior to the exhibition. The clinic featured youngsters from the City of Reading Recreation’s acclaimed school tennis program. Dozens of children from city elementary schools enjoyed tennis games and competition through the popular format of play.

An additional bonus was the presence of the New York Junior Tennis League (NYJTL), a National Junior Tennis & Learning (NJTL) Chapter from Queen, N.Y. The children from the “Empire State” participated in a Reading v. New York skills competition and attended the afternoon’s exhibition.

It was a day of tennis to say the least for the group from Queens as players boarded the bus for Pennsylvania after participating in a two-hour clinic which began at 5 a.m., only to return back to New York after 9 p.m. Additionally the two NJTLs exchanged their chapter’s t-shirts and even made signs cheering on their favorite players in the upcoming exhibition.

“This is something these kids will go back to school talking about,” said Larry Zerbe, Director of Tennis for the City of Reading and organizer of the clinic. “The kids were equally excited to meet the pros as they were the junior players participating in the event.”

Zerbe and the City of Reading Recreation Department recently received the USTA National NJTL Chapter of the Year award in San Diego at the USTA Community Tennis Development Workshop.

For more information check out the official site of the Berks Legends of Tennis at www.berkslegendsoftennis.com .