TENNIS LEGEND SUPPORTS YEAR-ROUND TENNIS IN QUEENS
NEW YORK (March 17, 2011) – The busy Roy Wilkins Park in southeast Queens is now home to two brand new multi-million dollar indoor tennis courts.
The highly respected tennis coach Bill Briggs of the decades-old Youth and Tennis Academy served up a number of city officials, community residents and youth leaders last Saturday to officially open the two hard-court tennis bubble which will keep young academy players active during the cold winter season.
And to liven up proceedings, he lobbed in American tennis legend John McEnroe.
CAPTION: Queens Borough President Helen Marshall (center) cuts the ribbon for the new tennis bubble in Queens. She is pictured with tennis legend John McEnroe (left) and coach Bill Briggs. Photo Credit: Office of the President of the Borough of Queens.
McEnroe, who grew up in Queens and himself runs an indoor tennis academy in Manhattan, endorsed Briggs’ mission of “striving for greatness.” He offered the assistance of the John McEnroe Tennis Academy to the Youth and Tennis Academy to help ‘bring the buzz back to tennis.’
“Tennis is a game you can play for your entire life … and Bill is the type of person we want in our sport,” said McEnroe before joining Queens Borough President Helen Marshall on the court for an official ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Marshall, who traces her roots to Guyana, recounted how over four decades years Briggs’ program has been a vital asset to the southeast Queens community.
“You have given many of our youth the chance to learn and play tennis… an opportunity they might not otherwise have had. And with that opportunity, a chance for a better life,” Marshall asserted, underscoring the academy’s emphasis on twinning education with sport.
Marshall has used her influence to contribute more than $2 million to the bubble, and since her tenure as borough president has provided more than $141 million in funding to help beautify and preserve parks and playgrounds across the borough of Queens.
The borough president reported she has provided an additional $4.4 million towards various improvements at the Roy Wilkins Park and Family Center through the Southern Queens Park Association’s facility as she thanked Councilman Leroy Comrie, the Queens Council delegation and local legislators for their help in keeping the park and its facilities vibrant.
Bill Briggs told the Amsterdam News the new facility instills pride in the community, especially among the youth. “This puts us on the map and it gives the youth a sense of ownership. I am sure they will respond better to what the program is offering,” he said, adding the distinctive bubble of the indoor facility is in fact closer to where the majority of the program’s participants reside.