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PUBLISHED: 5:27 PM on Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Group makes a 'racket' about expanding tennis in Southeast
Tennis is going strong in Juneau, but most other southeast towns have no courts to play on. However, a new program called QuickStart Tennis may provide another option for some Southeast communities.

Jo Anne Bell-Graves, president of the Juneau Tennis Association, said Juneau is the only town in southeast with indoor tennis courts. Bell-Graves said Ketchikan has some outdoor courts but she doesn't know of any public courts in other southeast towns.


Erik Stimpfle photo
  Jayden Hodgson looks for a shot while his father, Eric, looks on in the background during a tennis match at the Alaska Club.
Despite the lack of tennis courts in the region, Bell-Graves is pushing for an opportunity for other towns to set up small tennis courts in school gyms, covered play areas, cul-de-sacs, and other open spaces.

QuickStart Tennis is sponsored by the United States Tennis Association and was designed for children ages 10 and younger. However, the small courts could also be used by senior citizens or others that are just learning to play tennis.

The small courts are 18 by 36 feet and the equipment includes smaller tennis racquets and foam balls that are slower and lighter. One of the goals of the program is to make it more fun to learn to play tennis.

The Juneau Tennis Association sponsored a QuickStart workshop this past weekend. The workshop was presented by Anne Davis, a tennis organizer for the U.S. Tennis Association. Davis said there are grants available for groups that want to start a QuickStart Tennis program.

"We've taught people extremely well that the way you get involved in tennis is to sign up for a lesson," Davis said. "Why (not) just play and learn while you're playing? What we're encouraging people to do is to paint the permanent lines on the courts."

This past weekend, the Juneau Tennis Association sponsored a Back to School Doubles tournament at the Juneau Racquetball club. The event was attended by 90 players from Anchorage, Whitehorse, Juneau and Texas.

The goal of the Juneau Tennis Association is to promote the lifetime sport of tennis in Juneau and the group also provides financial support to the JDHS tennis team. The Juneau Racquetball Club also donates court time for the tournaments and for the JDHS tennis team.

JDHS tennis has a no-cut team that is open to any student that wants to play tennis.

Questions about QuickStart Tennis can be directed to Anne Davis: davis@usta.com.

Information on the web is available at: http://consumers.quickstarttennis.com/.


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