As Zina Garrison and her Academy prepare to celebrate 20 years of service, Zina continues to do what she started ZGA to do 20 years ago and that ‘s pay it forward. Garrison is working with 17-year old Taylor Townsend; a player many say can be the next great American star, as she makes the transition from juniors to the professional ranks.
Taylor is the first American to the hold the no. 1 year-end world ranking for junior girls since Gretchen Rush in 1982 and Garrison in 1981. So in the last 31 years, Garrison and Townsend are two of only three Americans to make that claim. This is familiar territory for Garrison. She mentored Serena Williams for seven years as part of the WTA mentoring program. “The difference here is that I’m coaching and mentoring Taylor,” says Garrison
“My passion for the game and love for my country make me want to see more Americans on top” Garrison adds. “The first time I had a conversation with her we connected. I see a lot of Serena and myself in Taylor. She has fire, passion and a lot of talent. I’m excited about her potential and helping her tap into it.
Garrison working with Townsend ties into the theme of not only the way Garrison approaches life, but the work of the ZGA. The theme of this year’s gala is “A Story of Love.” For Garrison the subtitle is ‘paying it forward’. Legendary coach John Wilkerson and former Tennis Pro and current Director of Tennis for ZGA Lori McNeil will also work with Townsend during her trip to Houston. Garrison and Townsend will workout on the courts where Zina learned and mastered the game of tennis, MacGregor Park, Friday, October 25th at 11:00am.
For information on the Zina Garrison Academy visit the website: www.zinagarrison.org.