We strive to introduce as many underserved Chicago youth as possible to tennis, with the intention of guiding them down a pathway to college through the attainment of a college tennis scholarship and sustained excellence thereafter in whatever endeavor they pursue. XS Tennis is open to everyone. We provide full scholarships to CHA residents and income-based scholarships to everyone. No child is left behind.
XSTEF emerged from XS Tennis, a program that started in 2005 on Chicago’s South Side with a small cohort of tennis players. These players proudly learned to play in Dunbar Park in the summer, and the unheated National Guard Armory on 51st and Cottage Grove during the winter. Their grit, pride, charisma, and success sparked interest from other children around Chicago from different socio economic backgrounds. With the thought that no child should be left behind, XS Tennis formed XSTEF, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, in order to reach and support a greater number of Chicago’s urban youth.
XSTEF has since sent 47 youth to Division 1 schools with tennis scholarships. XSTEF now serves thousands of players supported by more than fifteen tennis professionals, high school counselors, and volunteers.
Through its in-school program, XSTEF brings tennis into CPS elementary schools in at-risk communities, introducing a pathway that continues through the XSTEF after-school and summer camp programs. XSTEF also offers tennis instruction based on a sliding-scale income, to advance its efforts to introduce tennis to those who otherwise would not discover the sport. XSTEF now impacts the lives of nearly 3,000 students annually.
About Kamau Murray
Founder, and CEO
First started playing tennis: 7 years old
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Education: Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, Florida A&M University (BA & MBA)
Years at XS: 14
Things to know: I started playing tennis in the parks in Chicago. I received a tennis scholarship to Florida A&M University where I also served as a Graduate Assistant Coach. I worked in corporate America for 10 years while leading XS. I have taught students of all ages. I am only the 3rd African American to coach a pro to a Grand Slam Title. I am a WTA Gold Coach and Runner up for 2018 WTA Coach of the year.
Come see me about: The impetus behind XS, our mission, our vision, short and long term goals, the thinking behind what we do, and how we do it. How global trends in tennis affect us locally.