The United States Tennis Association (USTA) today announced it will present the city of Mission Viejo, Calif., with its Brad Parks Award for the city’s outstanding contribution in helping grow tennis at the local level. The city will be recognized during an awards banquet at the USTA Annual Meeting and Conference March 15-17 at the Omni La Costa Resort in Carlsbad, Calif.
The Brad Parks Award was established in 2002 to recognize outstanding contributions to the sport of wheelchair tennis. Named after San Clemente resident Brad Parks, a pioneer of wheelchair tennis and the first wheelchair tournament champion, the award is presented annually and honors an individual or organization that has been instrumental in the development of wheelchair tennis around the world through playing, coaching, sponsoring or promoting the game.
The city of Mission Viejo has long been involved in wheelchair tennis in some shape or form. What started out as a local tennis camp for young athletes in the area has grown into an international camp for the top junior wheelchair athletes in the world. In November, 2013 Mission Viejo was the first U.S. city to host the Wheelchair Tennis Masters at the Marguerite Tennis Pavilion, attracting nearly 40 top players from around the globe.
"The City of Mission Viejo has been a strong supporter of wheelchair sports and of tennis in particular since the 1980’s,” said Steve Bell, City of Mission Viejo Recreation and Community Services. “We are truly honored to be recognized for this by receiving the Brad Parks Award. What makes this the most special to us is that Brad has played—and continues to play—a huge role in our efforts."
"Having worked for the Mission Viejo's tennis teaching staff since 1996, it has been a wonderful adventure in the world of wheelchair tennis for all of us here,” said Jason Harnett, Head Tennis Pro City of Mission Viejo and USTA National Wheelchair Coach. “We started with a successful local, once-a-week wheelchair tennis clinic and now host arguably the finest junior wheelchair tennis camp in the world. This past year, with the newly renovated Marguerite Tennis Pavilion giving us a beautiful new home for the camp, it also allowed us to secure the hosting duties to the most prestigious wheelchair only event in the world. What a tremendous honor this journey has been for us"
“The City of Mission Viejo’s commitment as a host to numerous International wheelchair events has set a new standard of professionalism that is unrivaled in the sport of wheelchair tennis in the U.S.,” said Dan James, USTA Wheelchair Tennis National Manager. “Mission Viejo truly has become a home to wheelchair tennis, and are very deserving of the Brad Parks Award.”
The USTA Annual Meeting and Conference brings together USTA leadership, national staff, national committee members and section volunteers and staff in pursuit of the USTA mission: To promote and develop the growth of tennis. Along with leadership and committee meetings, the USTA Annual Meeting provides education opportunities for all attendees to develop and enhance their personal and professional skills and learn new ways to promote the game of tennis.