By Mike Kinney

When I was younger I tried my hand at tennis but found I had no talent for that.  I couldn’t control the ball off my racquet.  I would try to hit it like I was a pro and the ball would fly out of the courts.  In today’s Through the Lens I went to the YP Challenger of Dallas where they’re mission is to take tennis to everyone.

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The tournament directors at the T Bar M Tennis Club in Dallas have worked hard over the years to make this a world class tournament and this year they double the purse money and drew in several of the top 100 player in the world.  Good tennis players equal good tennis matches and that sell tickets but they are quick to point out that not what the tournament is all about.

They have a huge outreach program to try and spread their love of the game to some people that might not have ever thought of playing tennis.  Each year they bring in a groups of children to teach them about tennis and introduce them to the game.  They bring in deaf children and over a hundred Hispanic children from DISD to let them experience a live professional tennis match.

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They are hoping to inspire these kids to take up the game, whether they do it just for recreation or go on to compete a some level.  They have seen kids that have gone on to get college scholarships in tennis and go to college that they might not have ever been able to attend.

Each year they also put on a wheelchair tennis exhibition where they pair up a wheelchair player with a standing player and play double together.  I have done a story on wheelchair tennis in the past and I can tell you those people are real athletes. Watching them as they play, you can see the competitiveness inside them as they push their chair hard in every direction to dig out a save.

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Tennis is one of those games that people can play all their life.  No matter how old you are, or whether you have a disability, you can pick up a racquet and have some fun.  If your not a great player and able to compete it is still a fun recreational game for individuals to get some heart healthy exercise.