Students at P.S. 72 learned to improve their tennis game last week with help from Patrick McEnroe, a lifelong New Yorker and former professional tennis player (See photo gallery).
Patrick and his brother, seven-time Grand Slam winner John McEnroe, founded the John McEnroe Tennis Academy in 2010 to teach children the fundamentals of the sport. On Aug. 17, Patrick visited the East Harlem school with instructors from Sportime to instill an appreciation for tennis.
Second- and third-graders practiced their serves, backhands, forehands, and other important shots needed to become successful players. Patrick and John started playing tennis at a young age and wanted to expose children to a game that taught them important life lessons, Patrick said.
“It’s a great game to help you learn how to deal with adversity and to always try to improve yourself because as a tennis player, even if you’re super good or just beginning, you can always get a little bit better,” he said.
Students were excited to learn all the ways they could hit the ball across the net. One student, Heaven, had such a good time that she told Patrick she was ready to join his organization.
“She said to me, ‘I want to play tennis, I want to join your group,” Patrick said. “That to me is really what it’s all about – exposing these kids and this community to tennis. It’s so much fun to see the kids react positively.