(August 26, 2023) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – If you are wandering around the US Open grounds this weekend you may see group of about forty people, mostly young people, from Atlanta representing the late Coach Wink’s NJTL program. The group consists of coaches, kids in the program as well as their parents. They all came up together in a bus.
Coach Wink, whose full name was William F. Fulton Jr. first started these trips to the US Open back in 2013. The beloved Atlanta coach died in November of 2022.
Jonathan Hart, has inherited Coach Wink’s role. The first year we came, Coach Wink came in 2013,” said Hart. I was his financial backer, and I would co-manage the trips. I wasn’t even coaching; I was a national tennis player.” Hart has a couple of USTA national championships on the senior level. “But since Coach Wink has passed, now I’m Coach Hart.” The group didn’t have enough money to come in 2014, but “Coach Hart” said that would never happen again. “The only time we didn’t come since was when the pandemic hit, and then one time, they (US Open) did have a crowd, but it was last minute, and we didn’t have time to raise money. Go Tennis and Let’s Go Tennis Media is a big sponsor of the group and also pays for their T-shirts.
“You do know that Atlanta is the No. 1 city for tennis – Tennis Town USA. When you have ties to Atlanta you can get plugged into the program.”
“We want (the public) to know that we are Atlanta and that we are here with the kids, we come every year and we want them to know our kids.”
The group will be meeting with several players and coaches over the weekend with Atlanta connections including Coco Gauff, Jamere Jenkins, Alycia Parks, and Chris Eubanks who is an alumnus of Coach Wink’s program.
People around the US Open grounds may become familiar with their group chant as they will be in Flushing Meadows from Saturday through the first-round matches on Monday.
More to follow…
Alanta Tennis Podcast on Coach Wink’s NJTL – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IA6QNgzBeIg