The countdown to the 41st Memphis Open is underway! Mayor Jim Strickland officially proclaimed tournament week, February 11-19, Tennis Week in Memphis at an event at John P. Freeman Optional School.

“For 41 years, this tournament has meant more to our city’s reputation than people can ever quantify. Now more than ever, the Memphis Open is engaged with our community and is providing unique opportunities for our young people. It is high time that week is officially designated as Tennis Week in Memphis,” Strickland said.

John P. Freeman is one of dozens of schools participating in the Memphis Open All Stars program, a partnership between the Memphis Open, USTA, and Shelby County Schools.  

With the support of the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation, the program exposes youth to tennis by sponsoring field trips for schools that have completed a two-week tennis curriculum in physical education class. Up to four schools per day can attend the tournament: that means some 500 students will have a chance to see world-class tennis up close!

Schools that earn a field trip spot also will receive a permanent tennis equipment kit, so they can continue to promote wellness and exercise through tennis year-round. Field trip attendees will receive their own personal racquets, also provided by the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation.

“We are proud to be able to work with the Memphis Open to take tennis education to a new level and to help these kids witness firsthand what tennis at the highest level is all about,” said Calvin Anderson, Executive Director of the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation. “Who knows, some of the kids who get their introduction to tennis through Memphis Open All Stars may someday play in the tournament themselves.”