Former world #4 Zina Garrison is in Bermuda to help out with the Elbow Beach Celebrity Tennis Classic. *Photo by AFP
Former world #4 Zina Garrison is in Bermuda to help out with the Elbow Beach Celebrity Tennis Classic. *Photo by AFP

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 28: Katrina Adams knows first-hand what it means to get a hand up.

The former professional tennis player said: “I grew up in the inner city in Chicago so I wouldn’t have made where I am today without the support of many of the people in the community that helped my parents with some funding or providing housing — whatever was needed for me. I had a lot of people helping me.”

Because of that help Adams rose all the way to #8 in the world doubles rankings with a career that saw her win almost $1.3 million in prize money.

So when she has the opportunity to help out she jumps at the chance. That is why she is participating in the Elbow Beach Celebrity Tennis Classic along with former pro Zina Garrison, former New York mayor David Dinkins and Amy Hanten, a TV host and author on cooking.

Adams said the Elbow Beach Celebrity Tennis Classic is “doing just a great thing for the kids here in Bermuda. Kids need opportunities and the foundation definitely provides that. They get some training and travel outside the island and get some competition.

“Any time I can come down when David (Lambert) calls I respond.”

Lambert, president of the Bermuda Tennis Development foundation and chairman for the event, told the Bermuda Sun that the organization has given more than $80,000 from the previous five events to help budding tennis stars.

He said: “The funds from this event help to support our young Bermudians to travel overseas to play in ITF world ranking team events.”

Lambert said team events are more beneficial as the players get out on the court against competition every day whereas singles play if they lose, they are done.

“It also allows Bermuda to gauge the development. If there are 10 countries, someone is going to finish first and someone is going to finish 10th.”

He said many Bermudians eventually end up going overseas on tennis scholarships partly because they had an opportunity to play Junior Davis Cup or Junior Fed Cup or under 13s and under 14s regional competitions.

Something Adams has seen the benefit of in the US.

“I’ve probably been coming here for over six years now and I ran into a young man, David Thomas, who went to Ball State and played in college there. I happened to be at a Northwestern (University) meet for the women and he was sitting there.

“I said ‘Oh, my god, what are you doing here?’ and he said ‘I’m playing for Ball State’ so that’s a testament as to what’s going on here where these kids go on and get college scholarships.”

Garrison, who won 14 ITF titles and was ranked as high as #4 in the world, said has participated before.

“This is my second time and I love it. This has been incredible and it’s always nice to come back down and help the kids. David has such a passion in helping junior development here in Bermuda. It’s been wonderful.”

Garrison said it also helps her get way from all the stress from the US.

“When I come here I am able to chill out and be here for a great cause.”

Hanten, who is known as ‘The Cooking Mom’ said when she was asked about coming and taking part replied: “Yes! Yes! Yes! This is my first time to Bermuda and I’m really excited. This is such a great cause.”

Hanten played tennis as a youngster.

“After I got married, I didn’t play as much and something was missing. I got back into it a few years ago. It’s a lifelong sport that’s all about friendships and sportsmanship so to give the kids an opportunity to play and learn is really special. It shouldn’t matter what the kids financial status is — it’s meant the world to my life.”

Edward Shapard, general manager of the Elbow Beach, said: “We have always had a longstanding tradition with this programme and it’s nice to continue the work thatDavid and his group have done. They do such a great job with children… it is such a great honour for us to continue with this longstanding tradition.

“It is great to see all the hard work David puts into it and see it through.”