The Metro Richmond Tennis Club (MRTC) is a 501(c) (3) grassroots non-profit organization that introduces tennis to children, with special emphasis on the underserved and at-risk populations in the metro Richmond and surrounding areas.
MRTC was founded in September 2009. The organization was created with the mission of building tennis in the Metro Richmond area one ‘serve’ at a time, incorporating partnerships with other local agencies. In 2009, MRTC introduced over 200 kids to tennis through clinics at area YMCA's, Richmond area Boys & Girls Clubs, churches, parks, and indoor tennis facilities. MRTC facilitated its clinics with help from its volunteer coaching staff and parental support base.
MRTC started with its Tuesday Tennis summer program, which introduced tennis in a traditional format and QuickStart format to over 65 kids at the courts at Battery Park, home courts of the late Arthur Ashe. The program culminated with age-appropriate tournaments, trophies and a cookout.
In 2010 MRTC added a fall program and a winter in-door program. During the year, MRTC established and participated in the United States Tennis Association’s (USTA) Junior Team Tennis (JTT.) This introduced tennis in a team format for junior players. Since 2010, MRTC has also provided ball runners for the Midlothian Athletic Club (MAC) Wheelchair Tennis tournament held each spring. Ball runners assist wheelchair tennis participants track down balls on the court during matches.
2011 was a big year in the growth of the organization. MRTC added adult programs, establishing teams with National Tennis Ratings Program (NTRP) ratings. The adult teams play USTA league sanctioned matches. The adults also volunteered to help mentor junior players of MRTC.
In the spring, our kids were treated to a tennis clinic with former professional players Katrina Adams, the current USTA President, and Richmond native Rodney Harmon, former men’s 2008 Olympic Team Head Coach and current women’s Head Coach at Georgia Tech.
MRTC continued to build partnerships with the Richmond Tennis Association (RTA), USTA, Virginia Commonwealth University’s (VCU) Lobs & Lessons, City of Richmond's Parks & Recreation and Community Facilities, Richmond Public Schools and other agencies. As a result, MRTC saw more of our youth participating in area tournaments for the first time; particularly Grassroots Player Development tournaments. This also increased the number of metro-area kids enrolling in the USTA.
2011 saw MRTC expanded its tennis vision to the professional level. We introduced our children to pro level team matches and tournaments in Washington DC. In the summer, we sponsored trips to watch the Washington Kastles and spent an entire day at the Citi Open, held in Washington DC. Our adult program began to flourish as well. MRTC adult teams participated in USTA sanctioned mixed doubles leagues in the fall.
Because of these efforts, MRTC won the USTA/VA Organization of the Year for 2011.
In 2013, MRTC expanded to Westover Hills Community Center on the south side of Richmond. Our programs at Westover focused on beginning players with courts designed specifically for 10 & under ages. MRTC also co-hosted the Battery Park Junior Open, a grassroots tennis tournament for beginning juniors.