Atlanta Open hosts STEM diversity program for local children

Published: Jul. 27, 2022 at 11:51 AM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - Each day this week, before the professional players hit the courts at Atlantic Station for the Atlanta Open, kids from across the metro Atlanta area get their shot.

They’re doing drills and learning directly from tennis pros.

The Atlanta Open has hosted kids’ events for years, but this is only the second year the tournament had a STEM focus. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math.

“Whether that’s the racket head speed or why certain players string rackets with a certain tension and what string do they use because weather and humidity play a factor in all that,” said tournament director Eddie Gonzalez.

Sponsors UPS and Georgia Power are pitching in to host STEM activities like bracelet-making.

“We have these beads that are ultraviolet sensitive,” said Emily Matthews, coordinator of Georgia Power’s Power Education program, “and they change color with the ultraviolet rays from the sun.”

Gonzalez explained how the participants are chosen.

“Arthur Ashe, the great tennis player -- before he passed -- he created a National Junior Tennis League,” Gonzalez said, adding that the NJTL has chapters from across the country, “so each day, we pick a different NJTL chapter from our Atlanta community.”

Ashley Cooke, a rising sophomore from Jonesboro, is here with the South Clayton Community Tennis Association. As a competitive player herself, she said just being at the U.S. Open is a blast.

“I love the players that come every year. I just love spending like a couple of days here,” she said, “and it’s so small that you can walk, and you’ll see a player.”

Click here for more on the Atlanta Open.