New USTA National Campus partnership a victory for tennis

May 19, 2016 02:00 PM

By Ashley Marshall,

A new partnership between the USTA and two of the leading medical organizations in the U.S. promises to make a big impact on the sport – both for up-and-coming American players and those in the local Florida community.

The USTA will work alongside the Andrews Institute and Nemours Children’s Health System to provide medical services to the new USTA National Campus, which is scheduled to open in Orlando later this year.

The USTA National Campus will be the Home of American Tennis, serving as the base for USTA Player Development and USTA Community Tennis, and its 100-court, 64-acre facility will be open to the public and accessible for local, national and collegiate competitions as well as family outings and clinics.

The new relationship between the USTA, Andrews and Nemours also will make an impact beyond the tennis court. All three entities plan to work together to create programming and services that will afford the youth of the Central Florida area the opportunity to participate in and benefit from a healthy and active lifestyle.

“To create the model tennis facility that we are building at the USTA National Campus, we need to not only have the highest quality courts and facilities, but also the highest level of services for our players and guests,” said USTA President and Chairman of the Board Katrina Adams.

“By partnering with Nemours Children’s Health System and the Andrews Institute, we are teaming with two of the most respected brands in medicine.  Nemours is one of the nation’s leading pediatric health systems with deep expertise in orthopedics, and there is no question that the Andrews team brings unrivaled expertise in the realm of sports medicine and the enhancement of athletic performance.”

Through this relationship, Andrews and Nemours will provide athletic trainers and physicians to visiting athletes, coaches, administrators and spectators.  A team physician will also serve as the official medical consultant for USTA Player Development, which is charged with identifying and developing the next generation of American world-class players.

Internationally renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews said the partnership will give players and coaches a better understanding of how to prevent common injuries while also allowing doctors and specialists the chance to monitor elite athletes in a controlled environment.

“The injury rate for tennis is low, and that’s why it’s one of America’s favorite sports,” said Andrews, a founding partner of the Andrews Institute and widely known in the professional sports community for repairing elbow, shoulder and knee ligaments among baseball, basketball and football players. “But to be a tennis star and go up the ladder, it’s a developmental sport you have to do when you’re young. The prevention programs are great, but we’re not only trying to prevent injuries but recognize them early before they become some major factor. The facility will be an experimental lab, so we can improve what we already know to take it to another level.”

The partnership seemed a natural fit for Nemours, which opened the Nemours Children’s Hospital in October 2012 and neighbors the under-construction Home of American Tennis in the Lake Nona Medical City, and also the Florida-based Andrews Institute, which has collaborated on smaller medical projects with Nemours in the past.

“Dr. Andrews and the Andrews Institute are recognized national leaders in sports medicine,” said Robert Bridges, chief executive of Florida operations for Nemours Children’s Health System. “Nemours began as a pediatric orthopedic hospital and has expanded that legacy with a world-class team. Together with Andrews Institute, I know we can make an impact for young athletes and the USTA.”

As part of this relationship, the “Nemours/Andrews Family Zone” will be created at the USTA National Campus, which will feature eight 36-foot and eight 60-foot courts.  These courts are sized to make tennis more accessible to beginners, with equipment, both racquets and balls, matching the skill level as well.  The area will serve as a way for families, children and beginners to enter the sport of tennis in an easy, fun and accessible manner.

In line with this vision of making tennis accessible to all, Andrews, Nemours and the USTA will collaborate to create programming that will reach the local community.  The emphasis of these programs will be ensuring that children gain access to healthy lifestyle opportunities, from medical treatment and training to activity and play, on and off the tennis court.

“This is a partnership to be able to deliver the best medical care and performance care that we can to any and all athletes, be they resident youth athletes or professional, world-class tennis players,” said Andrews Institute Executive Director Dr. David Joyner, who compared the Home of American Tennis to an elite Olympic-style training center where residents trained alongside visiting athletes. “I would just say again how excited we are at the Andrews Institute to be a part of this great three-way partnership with two really outstanding organizations – we feel one plus one plus one is going to equal 10 for the tennis world.”