NEW YORK, Aug. 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- This morning, a group of twenty young tennis players spilled onto a court at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center for a surprise private clinic with doubles superstars Mike and Bob Bryan. The Bryan Brothers partnered with US Open sponsor Esurance and the USTA/National Junior Tennis & Learning (NJTL) to host a private clinic at the 18th annual Arthur Ashe Kids' Day, in an effort to inspire kids to work hard and pursue their passions – on and off the court.
"I think it's one of the best things you can do in life, to help someone else - especially a kid," said Mike Bryan. "To put a racket in a kid's hand, exposing them to a sport that we love and we know is great, can change their life for the better. It means the world to be a part of it."
The identical twin brothers are currently the number one doubles tennis pairing in the world, having won more professional matches, games, tournaments and Grand Slams than any other pairing.
Several of the 8-12 year olds traveled early this morning from Far Rockaway, one of Superstorm Sandy's hardest hit areas. They were members of New York Junior Tennis and Learning (NYJTL), the largest tennis and education-themed community organization in the country. Other young attendees from Arthur Ashe Kids' Day also participated.
"Playing with the Bryan Brothers was a great experience because they're my inspiration," said Darraline Bryan, age 12. "They help me with what I want to be when I grow up. I can pick up things that they do and become as good as them."
Upon arrival, the children were led to the practice court where they came face-to-face with the 2013 Wimbledon champion pair for the first time. They were welcomed by the Bryans and Esurance CEO Gary Tolman, who helped to hand out brand new Prince tennis rackets that the kids used for the clinic and could take home with them to help them further their games.
"These kids are all about the same age that I was when I started playing tennis," said Gary Tolman, Esurance CEO. "I wish I'd gotten to play with two guys like this. I hope this opportunity helps the kids to have confidence in themselves and what they can really achieve over time."
The Bryans served up lots of smiles, laughter and plenty of pointers during the once-in-a-lifetime clinic, leading games like Doubles, Up the River-Down the River, and Team Around the World. The brothers rounded off the morning by showing off some tricks and laughing with their pint-sized challengers.
"To come out here and have some laughs with the kids, it feels good and it touches your heart, said Bob Bryan. "We'll be leaving the clinic today with smiles on our faces."
After the clinic ended and the Bryans posed for group pictures, the kids were treated to digital caricatures of themselves created at the Esurance booth before heading out to enjoy a host of other activities at Arthur Ashe Kids' Day.
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ABOUT ARTHUR ASHE KIDS' DAY
Arthur Ashe Kids' Day presented by Hess is the largest single-day, grassroots tennis and entertainment event in the world, with chart-topping performers, celebrities and some of the best tennis players in the game coming together to celebrate the life and values of tennis legend and humanitarian Arthur Ashe. The event takes place the Saturday before the US Open.