XS Tennis Village in Washington Park to host professional tennis stars for ‘Chicago Fall Classic’ – CBS Chicago


CHICAGO (CBS) – Sure, we have professional basketball and football, but have you ever thought of Chicago as a tennis town?

Fans will have the chance to see some of the biggest names in tennis get shot here next week, but it’s not just the competition that gets people talking – it’s the venue for the big event.

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Morning initiate Lauren Victory explains.

At XS Tennis Village, located in the Washington Park neighborhood, there’s no rest for the tired.

16-year-old Nia Cooper is in the field exercising 5-6 hours a day.

“I was doing the same shot for about 30 minutes and I didn’t have a break,” Cooper said, explaining his workout which was grueling just to watch.

The young players who train diligently at the facility hope to become household names. The inspiration to continue came recently from Venus Williams.

The famous tennis star hosted a children’s clinic at XS last month while in town to take on other pros in a tournament hosted by XS.

” See them [pros] training – or even I had the opportunity to hit with a couple – it was amazing. It was surreal, ”said Cooper, who will have that opportunity again next week.

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Media elevators go up, umpire chairs are in place. XS is preparing to organize its third professional competition in 2021 alone. It is called the “Chicago Fall Classic” and offers $ 500,000 to be won, as well as a chance to climb the world rankings. Sloane Stephens, Elina Svitolina, Madison Keys, Danielle Collins, Kim Clijsters, Bianca Andreescu, Victoria Azarenka, Maria Sakkari and more will be in Chicago to play.

“Historically, you don’t see events like this happening in neighborhoods like this,” said XS founder Kamau Murray.

The site where XS Tennis is today was once home to the Robert Taylor Homes social housing complex. Murray said the construction of his 55th and State tennis center was geographically intentional.

“You know, access is everything; not just from a financial point of view, just from a geographic point of view, ”he said.

Being in the middle of Chicago’s Southside cuts commute time for many players, especially minorities.

“I can go home for an hour and then come back as I only live for 10 minutes,” said Cooper, who added that many of his tennis buddies also appreciated the facility’s proximity to their home. .

Murray argues that bringing million dollar athletes like Williams to a low-income area can also spark pride and future opportunity.

“Show that you can run events like this, in a neighborhood like this, and nothing happened, still get a big turnout,” he said, calling it “not in before for sport “.

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Qualifying for the “Chicago Fall Classic” begins on Saturday and competition intensifies on Monday. Tickets start around $ 50.

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