Full circle moment: Tennis pro returns to Bush Tennis Center, connects with kids

Published: Sep. 21, 2023 at 6:31 PM CDT
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MIDLAND, Texas (KOSA) - For one former professional tennis player, visiting Bush Tennis Center on Thursday morning was a full circle moment.

Murphy Jensen said the center is one of the last places he played before the moment that changed his life forever.

The tennis champion won French Open Doubles in 1993 and has coached stars like the Williams sisters.

This morning he connected with Midland kids with disabilities. His larger than life voice boomed with excitement as Legacy High School students’ rackets swung.

He took aim at tennis balls and gave encouragement.

“All of us together today are the best,” Jensen said. “So thank you so much for such a beautiful day.”

Jensen witnessed the center’s groundbreaking in 2016.

“Coming back here to Midland, Texas to see the growth, and they’re just getting started. It is so cool,” Jensen said.

He also returned for a charity event two years ago. It was one of the last times he played before his health took a turn.

“Two weeks later I had a cardiac arrest and survived. I was dead for 18 minutes and this is the first time I’ve been back since the cardiac arrest and two years of recovery,” Jensen said. “And they didn’t know if I’d walk and talk or ever play tennis again.”

That’s the full circle moment.

“So today is really really special, to come back to a place, this is one of the last places I was healthy before ending up in a coma for more than 6 days,” Jensen said.

It’s also a special day for the center’s ACE Outreach Program. It connects mentors to kids like Legacy High student Joseph Alavarado through tennis.

The program is free for in-school programs and provided at little to no cost to any kid interested after school or during the summer.

Playing the game in general was Alvarado’s favorite part.

“Play stuff. hitting. stuff like that,” Alvarado said. “The ball [and] making myself busy. Everything.”

For Jensen, today was all about opportunity.

“What resonates with me is just the love of one another and to come out and play and not measure ourselves,” Jensen said.

As they said farewell, he thanked the kids for the gift of a great day.

“If no one’s told you they love you today, we do and there’s nothing you can do about it,” Jensen said with his arms outstretched.

The ACE program is for kids ages 5 to 18. The center will provide scholarships and assistance, so if your child is interested, contact the Bush Tennis Center at 432-620-8180.