CHICAGO (CBS) — Two well-known figures in professional tennis were on Chicago’s South Side Tuesday to give a boost to the dreams of the next generation of sports heroes.

The next Serena Williams could be among the youngsters who study tennis and their homework at the XS Tennis facility at 1301 E. 47th St.

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Three-year-olds just try to get the ball over the net, while children as young as seven and eight can hit the ball past the adult coaches. But it’s not every day that youngsters such as Camryn Salters get to hit with senior pros James Blake and Jim Courier, who visited the facility Tuesday.

“It’s really cool,” said the 16-year-old Salters. “We grew up watching them play and I never thought that they would be at the club where I practice every single day.”

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Eighteen-year-old Sophia Osabuohien already has an idol in the family, her older sister Odessa, who is NIU’s top singles player. But there was no comparison with seeing Blake, racquet in hand.

“Oh my gosh, it was like the coolest thing ever,” she said. I was like so star struck. I was trying to take a picture with James and I was smiling so weird.”

Blake and Courier weren’t just there to say hello and give pointers. One sponsor of the men’s seniors tour, InsideOut, donated 1,000 tickets for the circuit’s April 8 tournament at the UIC Pavilion. The title sponsor, Power Shares, separately donated $100,000 to XS, which broke ground in June for a Tennis Village at 52nd and State Streets that will have a dozen indoor courts and nearly 30 courts in all, in addition to a soccer field.

Blake praised the XS program.

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“It does so much more than just giving someone an activity,” he said. “Maybe the mission statement was to give the kids an after-school activity but you end up opening so many doors and giving kids so much more than just an activity. It’s really a special environment.”