Phelps earns national honor

The United States Tennis Association announced on Wednesday that Carson City's Bob

Phelps was selected as a 2007 USTA Eve F. Kraft Community Service Award recipient.

Phelps will be honored along with three other recipients at an awards banquet, before more than 600 community tennis leaders at the annual USTA Community Tennis Development Workshop held on February 23 at the Flamingo in Las Vegas. The USTA bestows the Eve F. Kraft Community Service Award upon individuals who perpetuate his/her selfless mission to bring the game of tennis to anyone who wants to play.

Phelps is being recognized for his selfless efforts in bringing tennis into an area that otherwise would have remained unexposed to the game. It all began when Phelps stumbled upon two derelict tennis courts near his home and saw an opportunity.

With the help of a USTA Public Court Assistance Grant and local donors, Phelps was able to repair the courts and build a youth tennis center for the Boys & Girls Club of Western Nevada. The 80-year-old tennis enthusiast and coach still volunteers five days a week to help kids become better tennis players and better citizens.

"Eve Kraft was a dedicated community tennis pioneer who was the original architect of how to grow the game at the grassroots level, making tennis accessible for anyone who wants to play," said Kurt Kamperman, Chief Executive of Community Tennis for the USTA. "Bob Phelps is a passionate, hands-on volunteer; he's cut from the same cloth as Eve and we are proud to honor him with this award."

Phelps is one of four honorees this year. The others are Jaime Kaplan of Macon, Ga.; Suzanne Jollensten of Albuquerque, N.M.; and Nancy Horowitz of Pembroke Pines, Fla.

Eve F. Kraft was a tennis pioneer whose ability to touch people's lives exceeded the boundaries of the tennis court. As teacher, coach, author, USTA staff member and volunteer, Kraft was a lifelong champion of recreational tennis in the United States until her death in 1999. She introduced thousands of young people to the game of tennis, particularly in disadvantaged communities.

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