Tennis Identity

Bryans, Johnson, McHale & Gibbs want you to play in

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We’re almost through the first week of the Open. Are you loving it? While most players are focused on their matches, this year a handful of top American players have added supporting the award-winning grassroots outreach program First Break.

Read on, you have a chance to do good here too.

First Break at the US Open
About First Break

First Break grew out of the belief that an early break can have a lifetime of meaning, and sports provide a universal platform that breaks through barriers and invaluable life skills like teamwork, leadership, and integrity. This particular VDROP program being hosted/run by the U.S. players will feed financial support to the tennis initiative at First Break. 100% of the proceeds from the VDROP campaign will, in fact, go to First Break.

First Break

First Break Pam Shriver

The Players

Teaming up on this are Bob and Mike Bryan, Steve Johnson, Christina McHale and Nicole Gibbs. They are joining mobile app platform  VDROP to create a fun crowdfunding campaign that will benefit the Los Angeles headquartered First Break.

First Break Nicole Gibbs

What’s VDROP?

VDROP’s is new mobile application platform that allows fans to engage with the video content the players (and other celebs) are putting up and then crowd fund each challenge they want to see completed. In this particular case in order to raise money for First Break.

The hard (ok not so hard) sell:

First up, the bros Bryan:

Here’s Nicole Gibbs:

“From the outset, we have been driven to create a more intimate experience for fans and their heroes,” said Mark John, Founder of VDROP. “This partnership with First Break is so exciting for us as we get to create connections with some of the world’s great tennis players and their fans whilst serving those in need.”

So here’s what to do:

Download VDROP in the app store (free) and look for the player’s faces. Click on the player you want to interact with and donate in exchange for getting involved in the challenge.

More info:

There are even more big tennis names involved. Serving on the advisory board of First Break is former WTA Tour doubles specialist and ESPN Tennis commentator, Pam Shriver, in addition to International Sports Science Speaker and Performance Physiologist, Researcher and Coach Mark Kovacs, PhD, Founder and CEO of Top Notch Management Sam Duvall, and University of Southern California Men’s Tennis Coach, Peter Smith. The Governing Board for First Break Academy includes ATP Tour Coach Craig Boynton who has been working with Sam Querrey and Steve Johnson over the last year.

“We set out to get to know the kids going to school in the neighborhood surrounding our facility at StubHub Center because we’d like to introduce new families to the game that has given us so much,” said Marc Lucero, First Break’s Fundraising Chair and Tennis Development Advisor, and WTA Tour Coach. “Tennis is transformative; no doubt, the game has offered me a lot personally. All of us at First Break are intent on sharing this opportunity. It’s only natural to want to do all we can for the kids who are now cheering when they see the nets on campus.”

“The Rio Games opened the eyes of sports fans around the world to so many great things. Countless Olympians reaped the benefits of playing multiple sports as children; sports like basketball and soccer develop skills that translate to tennis and vice versa,” added Pam Shriver of the First Break Advisory Board. “By providing urban youth access to tennis in a multisport environment, we give tennis the opportunity to sell itself and know that kids will fall in love with our great game.”

In the last few years, First Break has had over 400 urban children introduced to tennis through monthly RAMP Tennis Outreach PE classes taught by volunteer coaches, parents, junior players, and friends of the game. The grassroots effort led to more than 600 hours of donated tennis instruction on the playground, 60 local first to seventh grade kids from two schools have participated in First Break MultiSport tennis and education programs at the RAMP courts at StubHub Center, home of the United States Tennis Association (USTA) Player Development-West and the LA Galaxy. The emphasis on multisport activities is based on a belief that the social, physical and mental benefits of participating in a diversity of sports is more advantageous to the choice of early single sports specialization for young athletes. 

First Break has received awards from the USTA Foundation, Women’s Sports Foundation, LA84 Foundation SCTA/NJTL (Southern California Tennis Association/National Junior Tennis League), USTA Diversity & Inclusion, PTR Foundation and the WAATC (Women’s All-American Tennis Championships).

VDROP is the first mobile application solution to monetize the social media relationship between celebrities, professional athletes and their fans in a fun, meaningful and emotional way. Currently, top ten ATP World Tour Singles Player Tomas Berdych serves as VDROP’s sports ambassador and was an early adopter of the platform.

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