The fourth annual Tennis Jamboree on Oct. 5 at 10 a.m. sent kids diving and swerving for tennis balls as Marvin Tyler brought tennis back to his hometown.
Tyler, the event lead, started the Jamboree four years ago. He started Slammer Tennis World, the company running the event, in Connecticut to give back to the communities he visits and his hometown of Emporia, Virginia. He wanted to introduce as many kids as he could to tennis.
“If kids see someone from a small town that is successful and a business owner and making a difference in the community, then hopefully they’ll go out and want to work hard and do their own work and be educated so they can be business owners and always give back in their community,” Tyler said.
Tyler just opened a Slammer Tennis World in Land O’lakes, Florida, and invited anyone from Emporia, Virginia, to attend Tyler’s programs around the world.
Tyler’s aunt and uncle raised him when he left Emporia, Virginia. Tyler’s Aunt Betty and Uncle Anthony made him the man he is today.
Eric Hamilton exposed Tyler to tennis. Hamilton was a coworker of Tyler’s at CPG Architects in Stamford, Connecticut.
Slammer Tennis World started with Bobby Wrenn, Emporia, Virginia’s grand marshal and town clerk for over 50 years. Wrenn wrote Tyler a letter asking to meet when he came to Emporia, Virginia, after discovering Tyler received the Professional Tennis Registry Member of the Year award for Connecticut. Together, Wrenn and Tyler started Tyler’s journey to opening Slammer Tennis World.
“Bobby Wrenn made my dreams come true,” Tyler said.
Kids received exposure to tennis at the Tennis Jamboree.
“If we get one kid out of 10 that want to continue to play, that kid might be the next pro from our hometown of Emporia, Virginia,” Tyler said.
Tyler donated the event’s equipment.
“To really, truly give back and really make a difference you want to own your own company, your own house. Then you can really do what you want to do for the youth,” Tyler said.
Tyler thanked his wife of 29 years and family for all of their support, love and understanding allowing Tyler to follow his dreams, the Community Youth Center for their support, the City of Emporia, Mayor Mary Person, Sheriff Keith Prince for donating money and all the volunteers. He thanked the Greensville County High School superintendent for letting him use the tennis courts, Wren and Gary Ungar, Gary being the founder of CPG Architects/ Link Systems, and Bessy Ungar, for all of their support and donations, Dominion Energy and Oncourt Offcourt for their support and donations.
Tyler thanked the IM for covering the Tennis Jamboree and their support throughout the years.
“I want to thank Teresa for her 20 years of support. She was wonderful. The first time I ever came home she was right there,” Tyler said.
Andrea Khattabi, a volunteer coach from Connecticut, played tennis with Tyler since she was 10. She was his student from kindergarten through high school and worked for him in high school. Khattabi returns to Emporia, Virginia, once a year from Charlottesville, Virginia, where she attends college to help with the Jamboree.
“I think it’s important that all kids have the opportunity to play, especially since tennis isn’t the most popular sport,” Khattabi said.