Brooklyn tennis player bringing the sport to inner-city kids

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Joe Torres has the story from Sunset Park (WABC)

It's happy anniversary in five Latin American countries Tuesday as they celebrate their independence.

That's one big reason the day officially begins Hispanic Heritage Month, a celebration of the important contributions of Latinos in the U.S., people like Pablo Sierra of Brooklyn.

"One of the things in tennis...you don't want to stand flat-footed," said Sierra, of the South Brooklyn Tennis Association, as he instructed a youngster.

Tennis..anywhere, anytime, anyplace. For Sierra, that's not just a motto, that's his mission.

"I take it to them. I research where the parks are and there I'll set up my portable nets, take out my equipment and let them hit," Sierra said.

Five years ago, the Brooklyn-born Puerto Rican created the South Brooklyn Tennis Association.

The goal: expose inner-city young kids to a sport they might never play, and do it for free.

And if the kids don't live near a court, he brings the court to the kids, even in a classroom.

"They all seem to love hitting the ball. I've never seen a kid come by and say, no, I don't want to do this. They all seem to pick up the racket and hit," said Sierra.

Sierra, who played tennis in high school and college, says aside from exposure to a new sport, there are other benefits to getting kids up and active.

"It's about getting the kids moving. Because kids today, they'll develop childhood obesity and that's one of the things we are trying to prevent against," he said.

As for the sport's next big superstar, Sierra is convinced he, or she, will come from the inner city.

"Somewhere out there is a little kid that is going to wind up tomorrow's champion and doesn't even know that he is going to enjoy playing this game," aaid Sierra.

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sportstennissportshispanic heritage monthSunset Park
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