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Special Olympics athletes to learn basics of tennis

PHOENIX — Athletes from Special Olympics Arizona will take to the courts in Scottsdale on Saturday for the fourth annual Tennis Fun Day.

Working with local tennis pros, athletes with physical and intellectual disabilities will participate in clinics and exhibitions to learn the basics of tennis, as well as certain groundstrokes. They’ll use low compression balls that bounce softer and the net height will be adjusted.

“Everybody thinks there are certain limitations towards what special needs kids can do,” said Mark Pachtner, director of tennis at Troon Country Club.

He said, by the end of the day, some of the athletes are able to rally back and forth a little bit.

“It’s very exciting to see that they enjoy themselves with an activity they’re normally not exposed to.”

Each athlete receives a free T-shirt, tennis racquet and a gold medal for participation during the post-event awards luncheon.

Pachtner said the event also serves as a fundraiser for Special Olympics Arizona so the athletes can continue playing tennis on their own.

Tennis Fun Day gets underway at 9:30 a.m. at Troon Country Club, located at 25000 N. Windy Walk Drive in Scottsdale. For volunteer information contact Mark Pachtner at (480) 358-7718.