PlayDays & Mylan WTT share vision of access

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Washington Kastles star Venus Williams was one of many players to take part in the USTA/Mylan WTT PlayDays in July. (Photo: Camerawork USA)

Mylan World TeamTennis offers fans the opportunity to have unprecedented access to their favorite players. With the help of the league's title sponsor, Mylan, and the United States Tennis Association, WTT has been able to craft one of the most unique experiences for the sport's youngest fans through PlayDays.

PlayDays were first created by the USTA to help facilitate the growth of tennis across the country. Making use of the 10-and-under tennis format, the goal of PlayDays is to introduce children to tennis in a fun, low-impact environment. The emphasis is placed on participation and effort rather than wins and losses, and teaching the importance of teamwork to children of all ages. With the league also looking to help grow the game, crafting special Mylan WTT PlayDays seemed like a logical step.

“Our partnership with the USTA and the local sections engages lots of young kids,” Mylan WTT Commissioner/CEO Ilana Kloss said. “It gives them an opportunity to play tennis in a team format, interact with the players and then come and watch a Mylan WTT match.”

At PlayDays across the league, the participating children were often given junior rackets and Mylan WTT T-shirts, and treated to lessons from the league's players, appearances by team mascots, and more.

“I think that the appeal of Mylan World TeamTennis is the access,” said Andy Roddick prior to the Austin Aces' match against the Philadelphia Freedoms.

Roddick's Aces hosted PlayDays on July 12 and July 18, which also featured his teammates Treat Huey, Vera Zvonareva and Eva Hrdinova. The events featured three hours of PlayDay activities and provided the participants with reserved baseline tickets for the Aces' respective matches against the Philadelphia Freedoms and Texas Wild.

“We want people involved and we want kids to come out,” Roddick said.

The access for the PlayDay participants and the younger set of tennis fans doesn't stop there, however. Following each Mylan WTT match, the players from both teams are available to sign autographs and take pictures with all fans in attendance under the age of 16.

“It's a big deal [to give back] and I hope it's effective,” Roddick said. “I think tennis has a very good culture of paying it forward.”

Remarking on the parallel goals of both Mylan and World TeamTennis, Kloss added: “We’re very proud of what we do in these local communities and Mylan’s platform of access really matches WTT’s vision for the sport of tennis.”

With the help of both the USTA and Mylan, WTT has been able to host PlayDays in each of its teams' markets this season. While the goal of the PlayDays is to introduce children of all ages to the sport, Roddick and everyone else involved in Mylan WTT certainly hope that access is only the beginning.

“You hope that some kid out there is going to be playing in this league someday,” Roddick said. “That's the ultimate upside.” 

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