BIG HEARTS: Abilene Woman Sets Out to Serve Tennis Families

Big Hearts

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB) – Abilene is ready serve 1,100 Tennis players and their families.

“It’s going to generate $1.7 million in economic impact and over 3,000 room nights. So it’s huge to our community,” says Debbie Schultz, the Director of Sales, with the Abilene Convention & Visitors Bureau.

It’s taken a year and a half to prepare for the Grand Slam Tennis Tournament.

Nadene Smith, the volunteer coordinator for the Grand Slam says, “We could be seeing the next Roger Federer, the next Serena Williams coming out of Abilene, Texas, winning a tournament and going on to play pro.”

The competition fires up Friday, June 9th and time is running out to make the finishing touches.

“We’ll have 1,100 bags to give every participant that plays. We’ll have a free t-shirt in there that they can wear Abilene proudly throughout the whole state, where they live,” adds Smith.

Nadene Smith, has a love for Abilene and Tennis so naturally when asked to help out, she gave it her best shot, “The most important thing you have to do as a coordinator is to encourage people and to keep them pumped up and to keep them going in whatever their task is.”

Schultz adds, “We could not have had better leadership than we’ve had with Nadene. She is a fabulous leader. She is a fabulous driver.”

Smith says she couldn’t ace the assignment without the help of local businesses and sponsors who helped to raise $25,000.

“It’s been a plethora of people that have come together to say we want you to have this so you can turn around and have the best tournament,” Smith says.

Abilene has secured the Grand Slam for three years. Abilene beat out San Antonio because organizers say they knew they’d get the VIP treatment in a smaller city versus a big city. When the contract is up, Abilene hopes it will stay the perfect match for the United States Tennis Association.

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