The Israel Tennis Centers Foundation Celebrates 35th Anniversary

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Thirty five years ago this month The Israel Tennis Centers Foundation opened their first facility in Israel.

In my wildest dreams I never guessed that our tiny country would eventually produce players who could beat England and Russia in the Davis cup.

Thirty five years ago this month The Israel Tennis Centers Foundation opened their first facility in Israel. The original concept was to use tennis as a vehicle to improve the quality of life for the children of Israel. Drs. Ian Froman and William Lippy two of the original founders from Israel and the United States respectively announced that while their original vision was to fund and build one center where children could play for free, they never dreamed that thirty five years later Israel would have 14 Centers and over 350,000 would have gone through the programs. With 21,000 children participating each week, the Tennis Centers have become one of the largest social program in Israel .

During the past three decades the Centers have created programs for children at risk, with intellectual disabilities, physically challenged children, special needs children, those who are hearing impaired and an Arab-Jewish coexistence program. The ITC is a second home to scores of children in these programs, who benefit from a structured physical routine within a stress-free environment, in the company of caring and professional coaches and see the Centers as their second home.

Although not an original goal of the Founders to produce champions, the dream of helping children through sport climaxed in 2010 when Israel defeated the Russian team to reach the quarter finals in Davis Cup. As a former Israeli Davis cup captain, and an original Founder of the Centers, Dr. Froman noted, “In my wildest dreams I never guessed that our tiny country would eventually produce players who could beat England and Russia in the Davis cup.” Dr. Lippy remembered when he first introduced Jimmy Connors to some of the children from Israel who had come to the United States to play tournaments. “Jimmy said that one day he would lose to one of these kids he had just met and he did.” Dick Savitt, former Wimbledon and Australian Open Champion, and current resident of New York City has been an integral part as a volunteer for the development of Israel’s top players since day one.

About The Israel Tennis Centers Foundation (ITC)

The Israel Tennis Centers Foundation (ITC), formerly known as The Israel Tennis Centers is a 501 (c) 3 non profit organization that has worked for over 35 years to enhance the social, psychological, and physical development of Israeli youth through the medium of sport. Most of ITC Centers are located in disadvantaged neighborhoods or outlying development towns throughout Israel, from Kiryat Shmona on the Lebanese border in the North to Beer Sheva bordering the Negev Desert in the South. For additional background please visit: http://www.israeltenniscenters.org

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David W. Lippy
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