Tennis Great Zina Garrison Celebrates Two Milestones

Gala  Marks  Academy’s  20th  Anniversary  &  Garrison’s  50th  Birthday,  Joined   by Billie Jean King, Pam Shriver, Jackie Joyner-Kersee and More

11/14/2013, 12:07 p.m.
Legendary tennis player and native Houstonian Zina Garrison will celebrate both the 20th anniversary of the Zina Garrison Tennis Academy ...
Gala  Marks  Academy’s  20th  Anniversary  &  Garrison’s  50th  Birthday,  Joined   by Billie Jean King, Pam Shriver, Jackie Joyner-Kersee and More

Zina Garrison Academy

Zina Garrison Academy

Legendary tennis player and native Houstonian Zina Garrison will celebrate both the 20th anniversary of the Zina Garrison Tennis Academy and her 50th birthday with gala “A  Story  of  Love” at The Houstonian Hotel on Saturday, November 16, 2013. The Academy will proudly honor and welcome tennis legend Billie Jean King, presenting her with  the  “Service  with  Love”  award  for her contributions to the ZGA program, her championship endeavors on and off  the  court,  and  for  being  an  ideal  role  model  for  today’s   youth.

“To  celebrate  these milestone events together is  just  amazing,”  Garrison  says.

Zina Garrison

Zina Garrison

   “On  this  occasion,   I think about the passion I have always had for the game of tennis and the love that I have for my hometown. This is a huge pay it forward opportunity.”

ABC Channel 13 anchor Melanie Lawson will  emcee  the  evening’s  events,  and the star-studded guest list continues to grow. Special guests include Olympic legends and gold medalists Pam Shriver, Carl Lewis and Jackie Joyner-Kersee, fellow Olympian Carol Lewis, and former two-time World Heavyweight Champion George Foreman. Former Texans players Chester Pitts and Travis Johnson (also formerly with San Diego Chargers), and Basketball Hall of Famer/former Houston Rockets player Calvin Murphy will also attend the celebration. Former tennis professional Katrina Adams and Taylor Townsend, the No. 1 junior girls player in the world, will also be on hand.

“Billie  Jean  King  is  one  of  my  favorite  people,”  Garrison  says  of  the  iconic  tennis  champion.    “I   have  learned  so  much  from  her.”    Garrison adds that track and field superstar Jackie Joyner- Kersee  “is so uplifting, so encouraging, and so dedicated to helping  young  people.”

For two decades, the Zina Garrison  Tennis  Academy’s  mission has been to develop stars in the classroom, on the tennis court, and in the community. They have provided educational support and tennis instruction to over 25,000 underserved children in Houston. The Academy provides free programming year-round, helping young people discover their individual talents, stay healthy, and become future leaders in the community while learning the sport of tennis.

Please visit www.zinagarrison.org for more information.

About Zina Garrison

Zina Garrison began playing tennis at the age of ten under the instruction of John Wilkerson at Houston’s  MacGregor  Park.    Garrison  won  14  singles  titles  and 20 doubles titles during a career that  was  highlighted  by  a  Gold  Medal  in  Women’s  Doubles  and  a  Bronze  Medal  in  Women’s   Singles at the 1988 Olympics. She won the Mixed Doubles title at Wimbledon in 1988 and 1990.

About the Zina Garrison Tennis Academy

The mission of ZGA is to develop stars in the classroom, on the tennis court, and in the community by providing educational support, positive role models, parent education, and excellent tennis instruction. The Zina Garrison Academy provides 50 weeks of free programming each year for all children in the Houston area. This tennis and leadership academy was founded in 1993 by legendary tennis professional and native Houstonian Zina Garrison. Zina’s  childhood  friend  Lori  McNeil, former tennis pro who learned to play tennis alongside Zina  under  coach  John  Wilkerson’s  instruction,  returned  to  Houston  in  2012  to  be Director of Tennis. John Wilkerson, the coach who taught Zina and Lori the game of tennis during their youth in a similar free program, is the Senior Director of Tennis at the ZGA. Over the past two decades, the Academy has targeted underserved youth, helping them to discover their individual talents, stay healthy and fit, and become future leaders in the community while learning the sport of tennis. During this time, the Academy has provided services to over 25,000 children. For more information, visit www.zinagarrison.org.