Midwood tennis star meets Billie Jean King

September 10, 2014 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Maria Kogarova (second from left) met tennis legend Billie Jean King (second from right) at the CityParks Tennis Benefit, where she was presented with an award. Also pictured are City Parks Foundation Board Chairman David Moore and Foundation President Alison Tocci.

A Midwood teenager was recognized for her outstanding tennis skills by the City Parks Foundation, which presented her with the Billie Jean King Award at its recent benefit dinner.

Maria Kogarova, 16, got the chance to meet King at the Aug. 26 event when she accepted the award named after the tennis legend. Kogarova, who began playing tennis with the foundation’s CityParks Tennis program in 2009, earned a spot in the foundation’s Junior Academy, an annual tournament-training program for experienced players held at the Billie Jean King Tennis Center in Queens, where the U.S. Open is played.

Kogarova is no stranger to the U.S. Open. When she was 10 years old, she was selected to perform an acappella rendition of “America the Beautiful” in front of 22,000 spectators in Arthur Ashe Stadium before the women’s semifinals.

The CityParks Tennis Benefit, co-chaired by King and another tennis legend, John McEnroe, took place at the King center.  Two-hundred guests attended the benefit which raised $175,000 for CityParks Tennis, a free instructional program that serves over 7,000 children in parks throughout New York City. 

In addition to tennis lessons, CityParks Tennis also offers an advanced training academy, giving talented young athletes the opportunity to bring their game to a higher level of competition. Two graduates of the academy have played in the junior division at the Open.

The benefit, held every year at the U.S. Open Tennis Championships, was hosted by Mary Carillo and featured a cocktail party, dinner, silent and live auctions and tickets to the Open session matches in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

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