Falkner Hain has participated in several U.S. Tennis Association showcases and exhibitions as the organization tries to spread the word about a new brand of tennis for players younger than 11.
Now he's getting set for the biggest stage of all: Arthur Ashe Stadium at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, the home of the U.S. Open.
The Evans 10-year-old was impressive at a teaching professional conference in July during the ATP Atlanta Tennis Championships, then again at a Cincinnati showcase in August during the ATP Masters Series Western & Southern Financial Group Masters.
His coach, Craig Jones, said Cincinnati was Hain's "final dress rehearsal." He and five junior players from Chicago were invited to Flushing Meadows, N.Y., for a demonstration from 7-8 p.m. Thursday that will be televised on the Tennis Channel and referenced during ESPN2 coverage of the U.S. Open.
The demonstration will take place before one of two U.S. Open men's semifinals matches.
"I don't think he knows what to expect," said Hain's mother, Cheri, who has been to the U.S. Open a couple times. "I don't think he knows how huge it is. He's just not going to believe it.
"Kids don't know. (Watching it on television) is nothing like the real thing."
In addition, Hain will make an appearance on CBS' The Early Show on Thursday morning. He will be accompanied by Jones, his mother and his grandmother, Carol Camino.
The reason the USTA is holding events such as this one is to boost interest in Quickstart Tennis, a program launched two years ago to get beginners interested in the sport.
Quickstart helps juniors adjust to their natural growth by using progressively heavier rackets and tennis balls with more bounce.
The program starts players 10 and younger on 36-foot courts with low-compression tennis balls. Players then move up to 60-foot courts and tennis balls with more compression.
When they turn 11, players move to full-size (78-foot) courts and regular tennis balls.
The International Tennis Federation -- the sport's worldwide governing body -- had adopted the new program to start in 2012, and the USTA will vote next week about whether to adopt and start it the same year.
The Southern district will be the first to use it, starting in January, said Jones, the owner and director of operations at Petersburg Racquet Club in Evans.
The club has been a featured site for the USTA to complete research for the 10-and-under program, and Jones has traveled to various clubs to speak on the subject and share information.
Jones said the abridged version has helped Hain, one of the state's top-ranked players whom he affectionately refers to as a "poster child for Quickstart Tennis," pick up advanced skills at a very early age. He compares his skills at 10 to those of Amit Taggar at 14.
Taggar, Jones said, was one of the more talented juniors from the Augusta area. As a teenager, he attended the famed Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy, though knee injuries derailed his playing career.
Quickstart has allowed Hain to pick up skills such as taking the ball on the rise and producing a wide array of spin shots. Without it, Cheri Hain explains, it's harder for young players to produce continuous rallies.
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