Zina and Lori’s Start
Zina Garrison and Lori McNeil, two of the top tennis players in the world, were products of a free tennis program started by John Wilkerson at MacGregor Park in 1974. Wilkerson didn’t have a lot of rules, but the ones he did have he enforced. If you didn’t have a hat (summers are hot in Houston) you didn’t play. There was no gum chewing or talking on the court. During a tournament there was no sulking, no temper tantrums, no arguing. And there was no soda pop, period. The rest is what we call “a beautiful legacy.” Zina and Lori became tennis legends in Texas and all over the world. Two black women, one program, and loads of extraordinary talent.
Wanting to give back to the community and provide similar opportunities to other young people, Zina and her coach founded the Zina Garrison Academy in 1993 with her prize money from the Family Circle Cup. In the summer of 2012 Lori McNeil returned to Houston to become Director of Tennis at the Zina Garrison Academy.
The Zina Garrison Academy continues to reevaluate itself and change to provide the best possible tennis and education program in the Houston area. Please view the rest of our website to discover the other valuable opportunities we provide. And come join us on the tennis court!