May is National Tennis Month

SHREVEPORT, La. – Professional tennis player Christian Harrison fell in love with tennis because of his dad, Pat Harrison, who played college tennis at Oklahoma State and taught at Pierremont Oaks Tennis Club.

Pat Harrison got into tennis because of his dad, Jimmy Harrison, who coached tennis at C.E. Byrd High School and Centenary College. 

"Just growing up and wanting to do exactly what your dad was doing. We thought it was the coolest thing and then as we got older, we were obviously always competitive. We pretty much grew up with the tennis courts here," said Christian Harrison.

Christian Harrison is part of the Association of Tennis Professionals. He's qualified for Wimbledon Championships the last two years. In 2022, he was able to get a win at the Grand Slam. 

This summer Christian Harrison will play three challengers in Arkansas, Texas and Puerto Rico. 

At Bill Cockrell Tennis Center there is another rising star, Genesis Allen, who's currently a top 10 player in Louisiana. 

Allen was also encouraged to join the sport through a family member.

"I got the inspiration from my grandfather, and he kind of really helped me out," said Allen. 

Coach Ken Meyers, tennis director at Bill Cockrell Tennis Center says, "Family that plays together stays together."

Meyers wants to use tennis as a bridge to the community. He wants to promote sportsmanship, as well as strengthen mental skills. 

"It helps with the problem-solving skills. You're out there on that court and you're judging how fast the ball is coming at you. If chess was a sport, it'd be tennis. You have to think two or three shots ahead," said Meyers.

Throughout June and July kids can play tennis for free at Bill Cockrell Tennis Center at 4109 Pines Road.

Gov. John Bel Edwards, along with Shreveport Mayor Tom Arceneaux and Bossier City Mayor Thomas H. Chandler recently signed proclamations recognizing May as National Tennis Month. The proclamation was proposed by the Northwest Louisiana Community Tennis Association after the United States Tennis Association (USTA) declared May to be National Tennis Month.

The USTA encourages players, organizations, facilities, retailers, and the tennis community to promote local programs and activities to showcase tennis and spread the word about the sport and its benefits. This is to help players and non-players alike find courts and play opportunities in their communities.

“I just want to share my appreciation to the state of Louisiana the cities of Shreveport and Bossier for the proclamation promoting tennis and the benefits of tennis in our community,” says Rhonda Rubben, Northwest Louisiana Community Tennis Association board member.

Tennis has seen tremendous growth over the past several years both locally and nationwide. A study by the Physical Activity Council shows that more than 23.6 million Americans played tennis in 2022, a 33% increase in participation over 2019.

Potential players in the Northwest Louisiana region are encouraged to reach out to the Northwest Louisiana Tennis Association to learn more about getting involved with their local tennis facilities.


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