In the July 27 District Weekly, the National Junior Tennis League was incorrectly referred to as the National Youth Tennis League.
The Carter Barron section of 16th Street NW was lined with youths early last week - many clad in tennis garb, some clutching racquets.
The word was out: Tennis professional Arthur Ashe would once again be giving a tennis clinic before the day's action started in the Washington Star Tennis Tournament. The tournament ended Sunday.
More than l,000 youths, aged approximately from 6 to 18, crowded the rear grandstand at the Rock Creek Tennis Stadium, 16th and Kennedy streets NW, waiting for the arrival of their hero.
For Gertrude Dees, 15, who walked to the stadium from her home at 1321 Sheraton St. NW, there was no way she was going to miss the clinic "unless somebody made me stay home. It was a nice walk.I don't have any real particular favorites. I just like to watch people play tennis."
Dees was one of many National Youth Tennis League (NYTL) representatives from throughout metropolitan Washington who attended the clinic. Other organizations that sent delegations to the clinic included the Lancia Corporation, which sponsored the clinic this year, the D.C. Department of Human Resources and Bureau of Youth Services, D.C. Special Olympics and the Metropolitan Police Boys and Girld Clubs. Sports Accessories, Inc., furnished l,500 free tennis hats for the youngsters, who also were given free seats for the tournaments that afternoon.
"I call it 'Kids Day' because it will be the only chance to catch the full flavor of professional tennis," said Doris Harrison, D.C. president and national vice president of the NYTL.
Ashe, 35, a Richmond native, has appeared at the clinics for 10 straight years, ever since he helped start the NYTL with several other tennis professionals. He earned much of his local popularity when he was a young player and frequently appeared in American Tennis Association tournaments at the Banneker Playground Courts, 800 Euclid St. NW. Ashe also was the first black player to make the pro tennis tour and he earned the top international ranking one year.
"He does pretty good," said James Little, 10, of Falls Church. "I like the way he slides. . . and then, smack! I like to see them play tennis. I learn a lot, too. Serve and the volley. How they do it, their moves."
Beverly Farner, 9, of Southeast Washington, who came with her 6-year-old brother Bradford, was disappointed because Ashe was an hour late and because Chris Evert was not there. (The women professionals do not play in the Star tournament.)
"They said the stars are going to be here - Arthur Ashe and Chris Evert - but I haven't seen them yet," she said. "That's why I came here. I'm disappointed I couldn't play ball, but I left my racquet at home."
Few of the children received a chance to participate in the demonstrations by tennis pros. The demonstrations included metropolitan pros Rod Dulany, Mitch Wald, Frank Hatton and Don Strong, former British Davis Cup team member Graham Stilwell, local tennis personality Willis Thomas Jr. and former Wimbledon junior champion Van Winitsky.
When Ashe arrived at ll a.m., the police attention of the audience turned to occasionally uncontrollable enthusiasm, and Strong, the master of ceremonies, had to make repeated announcements to keep youngsters from charging onto the court and yelling endlessly.
When order returned, Ashe played a short exhibition set against Chilean star Jaime Fillol. Ashe then teamed with Thomas for a brief doubles match against Fillol and Stilwell.
After the exhibition, Ashe was cornered against the net where he signed many autographs. "It's fun. It doesn't bother me at all," Ashe said of his meeting with the kids. "That doesn't mean I want to be an elementary school teacher."
On the more serious side, he noted, "All those kids who came out are going to be tennis players. That means they're going to buy tennis racquets, support the industry. And they're going to buy the tickets, help make the sport grow. It's terrific."
While most of the youngsters thought Ashe was terrific, there were a few skeptics. Stephen Hall, 9, of Northwest Washington, said Ashe was "pretty good," but noted "he's gone down a few ranks and he's gotten kind of lazy lately. My favorite player is . . . for now, I'll say (Jimmy) Connors."