|Published: 3:33 PM, 06/06/2013
||Last updated: 3:34 PM, 06/06/2013
Author: Seth Butler
Source: The Newport Plain Talk
NEWPORT�While the summer season brings excitement to the
national tennis scene, it will also bring some to the local aspect of the sport as
Later this month, the tennis courts at the Newport City Park - which is administered by
the Newport Parks and Recreation department - will undergo a major resurfacing project to rehab the
courts. The City of Newport obtained a $73,000 LPRF grant from the state�s Department of Environment
and Conservation in 2010 to renovate the aging city pool and tennis courts.
Now the City of
Newport�s Parks and Recreation department is working to make an investment in the facility upgrade,
by partnering with the United States Tennis Association, to help start a tennis program within the
county. The program will focus on introducing the sport to younger athletes, but will also look at
involving people of all ages.
The goal of helping to reinvigorate the sport in the community
has been a longtime goal of Parks and Recreation director Tim Dockery, who has overseen a
reinvestment and overhaul of the Newport City Park�s facilities since returning to Newport in the
position nearly two decades ago.
�Even if you start later in life, (tennis) is a lifetime
sport,� Dockery said. �You can play for a long time, even as you get older, and get good
�It truly is a sport for lifetime,� said Dockery, who wants to see the program take
off in order to make maximum use of the renovated tennis facility.
The program is also
designed to help facilitate development of younger players, in order to help assist the tennis
program at Cocke County High School. A once proud program, which had numerous successes, has fallen
on hard times in recent years. Filling a complete roster has at times been a challenge for the
�There�s a need to get young people involved in tennis, so it will have
a trickle-down effect and eventually help out at all levels,� Dockery said. �It�s the same way for
�We�re doing (the USTA partnership) for recreational use, but it can help the
high school out too,� Dockery said.
The program saw the foundation laid on Wednesday, when
USTA Southern Representative Karl Davies, who has been involved with the International Tennis
Federation for the past 10 years and played collegiately at Lamar University, paid a visit to the
community to help establish the beginning of the partnership. Davies helped lead a brief clinic
which involved a handful of Cocke County High School tennis players and their coach Wade Wester,
along with Newport Parks and Recreation program coordinator Renea Collins.
Davies, who sits
on the USTA Southern Player Development Committee and hold the PTR Junior Development and
Performance Professional status in Tennessee, gave a brief overview of some things that the USTA can
provide to the program and then conducted a short clinic at the City Park facility.
we�re hoping to do is maximize the improvement in the facility here at the (City Park),� Davies
said. �By doing that, we hope to make a good connection with the schools to help get more young kids
involved in the program.�
Wednesday�s session was merely laying the groundwork for what is to
come later. Following the renovation of the facility, which is scheduled to begin on June 17, the
goal is to quickly establish a date to hold a tennis festival locally both to promote the new
courts, but the new program as well.
�Our model (with the USTA) is to have two to three
tennis festivals, where kids come, get instruction and get exposed to the sport,� Davies said. �Then
after that, we can get them into some type of programming instruction type play, and we have play
days and those things.
�Ideally from a programming point of view, we can have them play, hold
clinics and instruction and trying to form junior teams from there,� Davies said. �We�re just trying
to establish some form of structure.�
For more information on the program, contact the
Newport Parks and Recreation Department at 423-623-7304.
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