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 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.
“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.