NEW YORK, NY – In what was the second-annual celebration of some of the brightest stars in college tennis, the 2023 ITA Leadership Awards Weekend presented by Limoneira has officially come to a close after two days of celebration and community.
Bringing in over 20 current and former student-athletes to New York during the days leading up to the US Open, award winners participate in numerous events during the weekend, including volunteering at Arthur Ashe Kids Day, attending the Awards Weekend Dinner, and serving as mentors to kids at the Cary Leeds Tennis Center.
Beginning on Saturday, award winners headed to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center to take part in the Arthur Ashe Kids Day festivities, which attracted over 40,000 kids and parents in what is a free event promoting the growth of tennis. Unfortunately, due to rain in the morning hours, many on court activities were canceled, but award winners still made the most of the experience taking in practice sessions from many of the world’s top players.
Sitting just a few rows up from the court at the iconic Arthur Ashe Stadium, award winners were able to watch the likes of Novak Djokovic, Coco Gauff, Daniil Medvedev, and Ons Jabeur practice in part of the 2023 US Open Fan Week.
Later that evening, all of the award winners in attendance were invited to The Yale Club to take part in the ITA Leadership Awards Dinner Ceremony. Hosted by the distinguished Leslie Allen, many dignitaries from across the tennis landscape all gathered to celebrate the incredible accomplishments of all of our award winners who made the trip to New York.
Here, individuals such as Stan Smith, Brian Hainline, and Ann Lebedeff all looked on as recipients of the ITA Chairman’s Award, ITA David A Benjamin Achievement Award, ITA Sally Ride STEM Award, ITA Ann Lebedeff Award, ITA Arthur Ashe Sportsmanship Award, and ITA Meritorious Service Award were honored.
Then on Sunday, award winners wrapped up their time in New York at the Cary Leeds Tennis Center where they offered advice, both on and off the court, to players from various age ranges about the college tennis pathway and the benefits of playing college tennis.
After pairing up with kids within the Cary Leeds youth program for a highly-competitive round of doubles, the award winners sat down with the kids for lunch where they could continue their conversations in more of a one-on-one capacity.
The Cary Leeds Center for Tennis and Learning provides free year-round instruction and play for youth ages 5-18 and all skill levels. Not just a tennis facility, the Cary Leeds Center for Tennis and Learning also offers tutoring services to kids as well as many other developmental programs to help propel these kids for the future.