As we've learned from this year's US Open and beyond, tennis is often viewed as a unique method of connecting people from all different backgrounds.
A few weekends ago at the Chestnut Ridge Racquet Club in Mount Kisco, the dream of a local non-profit’s founder came to fruition on and off the court. Kevin Ha, an alumnus of Skidmore’s varsity men’s tennis team, envisioned a tennis-themed event that captured the essence of and mission behind the Asian American Dream which he created in May of 2021.
The organization was founded on the belief of providing Pan-Asian American undergraduates with the resources necessary (whether that pertains to mentorship networks, professional development training and career advancement opportunities) to fulfill their respective vision of the Asian American dream.
“With the AAD Open, it really is all about finding a space in which to unify the tennis community to advance the next generation of Asian-American college students as it relates to their careers,” says Ha, who has been playing tennis since the age of seven.
When he was planning the first annual Asian American Dream Open in Westchester, Ha brainstormed which companies would align with his company’s messaging plus provide a sponsorship platform benefiting all parties. And that’s where Volkl came in as the title sponsor.
“Volkl has always been on my radar growing up; you always see the great brand [whether that’s] the designs or the colors,” says Ha about Volkl Tennis, which provided more than 15 bags as prizes to the winners and finalists of the brackets as well as tournament balls, strings and grips. “To be able to have Volkl as a sponsor for our first annual event is super huge, because it’s a well-respected brand and it’s great to have a reputable brand behind the tournament.”
The non-profit raised more than $40,000 in total between contributions made leading up to and during the tennis tournament. There were men’s A and men’s B doubles as well as an A mixed doubles event, won by competitive former college players who live in the tri-state. There even was a women’s A doubles event that happened at the last minute with four women who were on site and game to compete.
“In terms of the AAD Open itself, it really is all about unifying the Asian-American and tennis community together, with Volkl as the keynote sponsor I think it really provides that glue of unifying those communities; we’re really happy with that sponsorship with the brand!”
To round out the fun-filled day of AAD Open tennis on the har-tru courts, DJ Hengtime played on the roundtable while Moët Hennessy flowed throughout the evening; appetizers were passed from player to player, and donors of all different playing and professional backgrounds expressed extreme interest in participating for years to come. “It’s a nice event because there’s a mix of generations playing in it; it’s a great way of bringing everyone together,” says Brad Breakstone, the Director of tennis at the Chestnut Ridge Racquet Club.