Tennis expected to curb crime among youth in Memphis

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Getting youth off the street and onto a court.  A new partnership claims to have the answer to curbing the appetite of young people when it comes to committing crimes.

According to Mayor Jim Strickland, a tennis racket is the only weapon that is needed to keep kids away from crime and on Tuesday a group effort demonstrated that plan by serving up the opportunities for young people.

"The true long term solution to stopping crime is young people choosing to not become criminals," said Strickland

Mayor Strickland practiced his own tennis form as he showed John P. Freeman students that tennis is more than just a sport. It's a hobby that he believes can cut crime.

"Giving them hope and opportunity, because I think, when it gets down to it, children do not want to join gangs and become criminals. They just feel lost and hopeless," added Strickland.

On Tuesday, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Shelby County Schools, Memphis Open and Mayor Stickland united to share the sport of tennis with students hoping to breathe new life into their futures.

"We have to give our children something productive to do when they are not in school," said Strickland.

Every student received a racket to start off their tennis career. The initiative works hand in hand with the mayor's series geared towards helping young men between 14-21 to become productive members of society.

The mayor also declared February 11-19 Tennis Week in Memphis. The Memphis Open is also slated during that week.