Two students at Legacy Youth Tennis and Education in East Falls will participate in opening ceremonies at the U.S Open in Flushing Meadows this weekend.
Tauheed Browning, 11, of West Philadelphia will warm up with some of the world’s best players, including Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, while Brandon Caban, 14, of Drexel Hill, will compete on Sunday in a televised target-hitting contest with many of the same players for a $15,000 award.
Browning and Caban were selected by Lance Lee, vice president of tennis and national partnerships at Legacy, to represent Legacy at the U.S. Open as part of a United States Tennis Association program which showcases young talent from different chapters of the National Junior Tennis and Learning network.
“These young stars represent our mission. They started their tennis careers at Legacy, even before they started first grade, and are poised for success, on and off the court,” said Lee. “We are proud to say that Tauheed and Brandon are our kids, and can’t wait to see them shine on Arthur Ashe Stadium court.”
Caban, who started playing tennis when he was 3, said one of his early motivations was to become a better player than his older brothers. Now he hopes to play professional tennis like his idols, who he will get a chance to meet this weekend.
“I’m most excited to meet Novak Djokovic. We both have similar games,” he told NewsWorks. Caban was not shy about his ambitions in the target-hitting contest. He will be competing against those same professional players, including Djokovic, and hopes to bring home the $15,000 prize.
The money would help Legacy provide tennis and life skills education to more than 4,500 young people from Philadelphia, Chester, and Camden, many from low-income, under-resourced communities.
Caban said his years at Legacy have taught him responsibility and confidence. He now mentors younger students and participates in Building Bridges, a program connecting Legacy with a similar tennis organization in Israel.
In preparation for Sunday’s contest, Caban has been practicing target-hitting for two hours each day. “I am nervous about this weekend,” he said. “But I just listen to music and it helps me to keep calm.”
Former Legacy students DreShaun Jarmon and Kyle Seelig have each won the U.S. Open target-hitting contest in the past four years, bringing back $30,000 to support programs at Legacy. Both Jarmon and Seelig are now preparing to play tennis at the collegiate level.Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day competitions, which will include the target-hitting contest, are scheduled to air at noon on Sunday, Aug. 24, on CBS.