New York Junior Tennis & Learning Celebrates Black History Month Highlighted By ITA Tennis Hall of Fame Legend Lori McNeil 

-Former Top 10 Pro Lori McNeil Leads Tennis Clinic, Guides Youth on Success On and Off the Court, on February 3-5- 

-Hundreds of Youth from Underserved Communities to Participate During NYJTL’s Annual Presidents’ Week Tournament During the Midwinter Break- 

(New York, NY)—Throughout its 51-year history, New York Junior Tennis & Learning (NYJTL) has engaged youth from underserved communities – providing instruction, fun competition, skills development and a host of other educational supports to help NYC youth succeed on and off the court.  

This Black History Month is no exception: the nonprofit will continue its series bringing prominent Black professional tennis players to the organization’s flagship Cary Leeds Tennis Center for Tennis & Learning in Crotona Park in the South Bronx, bringing hundreds of youth together for an inspiring Community Tennis Program (CTP) Presidents’ Week Tournament during their midwinter break.   

This month, and every month, NYJTL strives to celebrate the accomplishments of our Black community, not only in the sport of tennis but also across our great city and throughout our history,” says NYJTL President & CEO Udai Tambar. “Through our tennis and education programming across all five boroughs, we diligently work to address the inequities still faced by our NYJTL families.”  

Holding Court: Player Series 

This Friday through Sunday (February 3-5), NYJTL will be hosting former professional tennis icon Lori McNeil at the Cary Leeds Center. Lori McNeil is a former pro and national USTA coach who was on the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Tour for 17 years and reached career-high rankings of No. 8 in singles and No. 4 in doubles. The weekend will consist of tennis clinics and moderated discussions by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Hall of Fame athlete. The activities will inspire more than 200 children from across the city to improve their tennis game and achieve academic excellence in school.   

McNeil’s visit is the second installment of NYJTL’s Holding Court: Player Series, which launched last year with inaugural guest Chris Eubanks. Eubanks, another distinguished Black professional tennis player, has a career high ranking of No. 103 in the world, and is a tennis commentator on the Tennis Channel. Currently on the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) tour, the college graduate participated in tennis clinics with NYJTL program participants and spoke about his career based on the theme, “I am a Scholar Athlete”.  

It’s so important for us to bring excellence to the underserved youth we serve because many great icons come from similar backgrounds,” says NYJTL Director of Tennis Ahsha Rolle. “These events inspire our kids to dream bigger and strive to become the next generation of stars.”  

On Friday, McNeil will lead tennis clinics from 2-6 pm with young participants from NYJTL’s ACES Afterschool Program and from the community. On Saturday, McNeil will visit and work with the Scholar Athlete Program and CTP from 11 am- 3 pm. NYJTL’s 2022 Scholar Athlete Program provides students with academic support and intensive tennis instruction with the goal of 100% high school graduation and college entrance to create socioeconomic mobility.  

Community Tennis Program (CTP) Presidents’ Week Tournament 

Later this month, during mid-winter break from February 20-24, NYJTL will present its annual Community Tennis Program (CTP) Presidents’ Week Tournament. This tournament brings program participants from elementary and middle schools across the city to the Cary Leeds Tennis Center for tennis and fitness competitions, along with awards ceremonies on each day.   

While Black History Month is a moment to celebrate the stories of legends on and off the court, NYJTL continues to do this year-round, not only showing youths that they can succeed but also providing access and opportunities to achieve their dreams.  

About NYJTL:  

The mission of New York Junior Tennis & Learning is to develop the character of young people through tennis and education for a lifetime of success on and off the court. Since 1971, NYJTL has changed lives through tennis, education, healthy living, and character development programs. Today, it is the largest youth tennis and education non-profit in the nation, reaching more than 85,000 K-12 New York City youth.  

NYJTL provides after school programming in approximately 30 schools and community tennis programming at approximately 40 sites throughout New York City in the summer months and at additional sites that operate during the school year. In addition, NYJTL designed, funded (with NYC), built and operates the Cary Leeds Center for Tennis & Learning, at which it provides free and commercial tennis programming year-round as well as life skills, character development and healthy living lessons. All NYJTL community tennis and after school programs are offered at no cost to its participants. Learn more at  

For more information on NYJTL’s Black History Month schedule and other offerings, contact:  

Sadia Saba 
Communications & Content Specialist