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First Lady Michelle Obama Encourages Kids to Stay Active at Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day to Kick Off the U.S. Open

It’s almost time to see those smashing forehands and backhands!  Yesterday, First Lady Michelle Obama visited the U.S. Open to celebrate the 18th Annual Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day, which brings together thousands of kids and families, tennis players, and celebrities to celebrate the life and legacy of the tennis legend and humanitarian Arthur Ashe. The First Lady spoke to the kids and their families about the importance of staying active and she announced a new commitment that the United States Tennis Association (USTA) pledged to the Partnership for a Healthier America in support of Let’s Move!

First Lady Michelle Obama joined by professional tennis players at Arthur Ashe Kids' Day

Mrs. Obama urged the kids to understand the importance of working hard every day by saying:

“No one waved a magic wand over these [athletes] and turned them into champions.  They turned themselves into champions by putting in the effort, by exercising and focusing every day, working out, eating right, and practicing their skills over and over and over again.  That’s what it takes to be excellent.”

Tennis is a game that the First Lady loves to play as a way to stay healthy and fit, but she shared with the crowd that she didn’t always have opportunities to play as a kid:

“When I was your age, I didn’t have tennis role models.  I didn’t live in a community where there were any tennis courts.  And, quite frankly, I don’t think I knew a single person when I was young who even knew how to play tennis.”

That’s why the First Lady was thrilled to announce a commitment made by the USTA that enables more kids across the country to have access to new kid-sized tennis courts. The USTA has consistently supported the goals of Let’s Move!, and they have stepped up once again to show their commitment to making physical activity fun and accessible for kids. Over the next three years the USTA will:

  • Create at least 5,000 new kid-sized tennis courts in the US, with an emphasis on funding projects in diverse communities.
  • Train at least 15,000 new coaches, teachers and volunteers to support the USTA’s Ten and Under Tennis program.
  • Serve at least 300,000 youth in after-school and summer programs through its National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) Network - a nationwide group of more than 600 non-profit youth development organizations that provide free or low-cost tennis, education, and life skills programming to youth in low-income families and underserved communities.
  • Donate new tennis equipment to support programs at schools and youth facilities committed to providing Ten and Under Tennis.

The First Lady reminded everyone that tennis is a sport that you can play for your entire life, and that it’s a good game to get your heart racing and pumping no matter how old you are.

Feeling energized? Find a tennis court near you and get out and play!