Berks County to be well-represented at Madison Keys tennis event in Iowa

Berks County will be well represented next month in the Madison Keys Court of Dreams Celebration of Tennis event at Charles City, Iowa.

Key, the 2017 US Open runner-up, is the headliner of the event that will be held at the Court of Dreams on July 14-15, and which will promote positive self-esteem and mental health awareness.

There will be a youth clinic, a symposium on mental health and a multiple-match exhibition at the All Iowa Lawn Tennis Club. The court was built by Mark Kuhn on his family’s farm and is the only Wimbledon rye grass court in North America.

Ryan Knarr, president of the Berks County Tennis Association and the Conrad Weiser boys and girls coach, is the event director. This is the third year in a row he is directing a tournament at the Court of Dreams.

“To be able to direct a professional event with Madison Keys at the Court of Dreams is truly a forever moment,” Knarr said. “To be able to use tennis as a platform for an important cause with mental health awareness is an important and valuable opportunity to raise awareness on a big stage.”

Emma Perkins, a rising junior at Conrad Weiser and a two-time Berks Player of the Year, will play with Keys, a WTA player to be announced and Iowa state high school doubles champ Maya Mallavarapu in a doubles exhibition. Perkins teamed up with Alex Pancu to win the PIAA Class 2A doubles title in 2020, and was a finalist with Michelle Timothy in 2021.

“It’s an unbelievable opportunity for her,” Knarr said of Perkins.

Reading’s Don Hutchison, who was a broadcaster at the previous two Knarr-directed events in Iowa, will partner with play-by-play man Alex Gruskin for the broadcast on Cracked Racquets.

Nathan Healey, who is married to Berks native Marnie Heller-Healey and is living in Wyomissing this summer, is a coach and former pro player from Australia who will be one of two male players in the event, along with KP Pannu of New Zealand.

Pannu played in last summer’s Lotto Elite Pro Tennis Challenge in Wyomissing.

Marnie Heller-Healey is the daughter of the late Merv Heller, founder of the BCTA and former president of the USTA.

All proceeds from the event will benefit the All Iowa Lawn Tennis Club Foundation and Kindness Wins.

Kindness Wins is a nonprofit organization created by Keys that supports and encourages acts of kindness at a grass-roots level.

Keys, 27, will be playing at Wimbledon, which runs June 27-July 10.

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