The Pete Brown Jr. Tennis program was started to provide free tennis in the Los Angeles area. Organization creator Marty Woods started the program to maintain the legacy of his tennis instructor Pete Brown. He not only taught Woods the sport, but helped him secure a full tide tennis scholarship to college.
The organization has grown over the years and the children who benefit from it has developed into contenders as Woods works to provide opportunities for is athletes to further their expertise.
The organization currently has three sites: Lueders Community Center, Harvard Park in Los Angeles and St Andrews park; the Pete Brown Jr. tennis programs serves 175 students in total. Since its inception, the program earned grants and partnerships, including with the L.A. County Sherriff. In 2017, Woods sent 12 students to compete in the 100th annual American Tennis Association (ATA) National Championships.
“I felt our kids needed to be a part of that history and to learn history,” Woods said. “It’s a college recruiting ground where all of these historic HBCU coaches go to the ATA to recruit players.”
From their participation in the ATA Championship, two students received scholarships to Morgan State University. In 2018, students from the Pete Brown Program returned to the ATA National Championships, which were hosted at the USTA National Campus in Florida.
Woods’ students Hana Moss and Kent Hunter reached the Girls 18s Singles Final and the Boys 18s Singles Final respectively during the 2018 championships. Hunter won the title without dropping a single set during the tournament. One of the challenges that he faced is the hot weather.
“I learned a lot about the history of the ATA,” Hunter said about the tournament. “It also taught me that I need to be prepared when I go to play any tournament considering the change in the humidity levels of the heat.”
Hunter recently signed with the University of California men’s tennis team after helping Cerritos College to a CCCAA Dual State Championship in 2018.
Moss, known for her ability to overwhelm her opponents with her power, struggled with nerves in her finals match. The large amounts of cameras and spectators at the tournament were to blame.
“It was such a big tournament, I was really overthinking it and it was a lot of spotlight on me,” Moss said. “I learned from that, so the next time I go on to Florida with the cameras, I know what to do.”
To help develop their game, Woods provided Hunter and Moss with elite coaching and negotiated with racket companies to get them better equipment. Attending the tournament helped the players learn about the major figures who made it possible for them to compete at major stages.
“ATA was so big for them, they really got a chance to see that it was tough for us back then, we struggled,” Woods said. “I think that it gave them more of an appreciation for the sport and it gave them an appreciation for where they’re at and what they’re able to do.”