Tennis coach brings love of game to Memphis-area children

(WMC-TV) - Arveal Turner can be coy about his age.

"I'll admit to being close to 70," said Turner.

But Turner will readily confess to feeling a half century younger.

"I still feel like I can run just as fast as I did when I was in my 20's, and I mean that literally," he said.

Turner said he has no aches or pains, takes no medication, and he owes it all to tennis.

"What I'm most grateful for is that it's kept me healthy," said Turner.

As a player, Turner is ranked 9th in the South for 65's and older by the UTSA.  He has won countless tournaments and accolades for his play.

Tennis has touched Turner with the fountain of youth, and in return, Turner has given the game he loves to countless Memphis-area kids.  He has been teaching tennis at Epiphany Court since 1974.

From his motivational signs to his music-induced warm ups, Turner is always thinking outside the box.

Epiphany Court itself is the product of both ingenuity and circumstance.

"At the time, they were not, or would not, hire a black teaching pro," said Turner.  "So I decided I was going to find a place or a slot of land that had enough land to build a tennis court."

Epiphany Court was born in Turner's own backyard.

Boys and girls have gone on from Turner's program to play in USTA tournaments and for college teams. Two are currently training to go on the pro tour.  If it wasn't for Turner, many of the students would have never been able to receive formal tennis training in the first place.

"When I developed this program, I said I wanted to make it so that everybody, whether you had money or not could come here and learn to play tennis," said Turner.  "That's what I've maintained.  Everybody can get a lesson here, whether you have money or not"

During the summer, Turner offers lessons completely free.

"I just want more tennis players on these courts of Memphis and less in juvenile detention," he said.

Turner annually hosts the Epiphany Court Tournament of Champions, a fundraising tournament where all proceeds provide minority tennis development scholarships to keep his program going.  The tournament is played with two people playing different opponents cross court at the same time.

"It's the most unique tournament," said Turner.  "There's none like it."

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