Tennis, Lacoste, and the Bronx are not typically associated with one another. But with the recently refurbished tennis courts at St. Mary's Park on East 146th Street and St. Ann's Avenue, the City Parks Foundation and Lacoste are attempting to alter that.
Venus Williams, who has been Lacoste's worldwide ambassador since 2022, attended the ceremonial unveiling of the two tennis courts there on August 9 on behalf of the City Parks Foundation (CPF) and Lacoste. Pink silhouettes of her and the iconic Lacoste alligator adorn the recently remodeled courts.
Williams gave a speech while dressed in pink and white Lacoste and had pink ombré hair to match. She thanked everyone for the honor, especially Lacoste.
“These courts (at St. Mary’s) are the same kind of courts I grew up on, playing tennis and having big dreams,” said Williams. “I am so happy for everyone of all ages to be exposed to this sport.”
Venus Williams and her sister Serena, who were coached by their contentious father while growing up in Compton, California, revolutionized tennis. Its skill, athleticism, and unabashed Blackness in a sport long dominated by its white colleagues made them stand out.
Williams began working professionally in 1994. Seven significant championships have been won by her, including two at the U.S. Open and five at Wimbledon.
Williams is now helping others. Before the clinic, Jessenia Aponte, the Bronx Borough Commissioner for NYC Parks, young tennis players from CityParks Tennis' Lacoste Tennis Academy, Lacoste's Deputy CEO Catherine Spindler, CPF's Chair of the Board of Directors Roland Merchant Jr., and CityParks Tennis' Beginner's Tennis Program addressed the audience.
“Bronx residents will enjoy these courts for years to come,” said Aponte.
Since 2010, Lacoste and the City Parks Foundation have collaborated to provide kids in NYC public parks free activities, such as tennis instruction. Silverman appreciates the collaboration with the 90-year-old tennis-themed apparel label and the shared goal of giving youth access to sports.
There are hopes to get more tennis players out of the Bronx with the renovated courts.
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