SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – It’s a sporting event that’s the first of its kind in Shreveport and aimed at highlighting African American tennis in the community.

One of the organizers, Jeffrey Goodman wants to introduce local youth to the game of tennis. Students will have the opportunity to watch some of the best tennis players from the area.

“What’s really key, I think that night is for the people there to realize, hey here are some people that used this sport, used this as a vehicle to go to college and used this as a vehicle to make a career.”

There will be competitive tennis matches and lessons from LSU-S Shreveport Tennis Director, Akeem Williams.

“It has impacted my life in tremendous ways. From networking to just friendships, relationships, to just opportunities. Things that I would never thought that I would be a part of.”

Shreveport’s ties to the tennis world will also be discussed. The new director of the Cockrell Tennis Center, Erik Graves was mentored by Richard Williams, a Shreveport native and father of Venus and Serena Williams. He can also give credit to another tennis great for helping him get his start in the sport.

“Arthur Ashe came to Gary, Indiana and gave me my first racket and since then I’ve been on a quest to continue his legacy.”

The African American Tennis in the Community event is Thursday, October 22nd at Bill Cockrell Park. The activities will get underway at 5:30 and it’s free for all who want to attend. Free tennis rackets will be available for new learners.