| By New York Tennis Magazine Staff


NY’s Nieh shines at Midwest Wheelchair Tennis Camp
Credit photos to Jason Nieh
The 2015 Midwest All-Comers Wheelchair Tennis Camp took place in December at Purdue University's Schwartz Tennis Center in West Lafayette, Ind. Nearly 20 wheelchair tennis players from around the country participated in the four-day training camp. The camp was led by U.S. National Coaches Dan James and Paul Walker, and included world-ranked wheelchair tennis players as participants.

Wheelchair tennis is one of the fastest-growing wheelchair sports in the world. It integrates very easily with standup tennis, since the only difference is that the wheelchair tennis player is allowed two bounces of the ball. A number of the wheelchair tennis players at the camp participate in tennis programs with regular standup players as well. However, the strategies and techniques for hitting a tennis ball while maneuvering a wheelchair around the tennis court are different from standup tennis in various ways. That is why having a camp focused on wheelchair tennis and training the disabled athlete is so instrumental. In addition to honing fundamental tennis skills, the camp focused heavily on wheelchair mobility techniques, as wheelchair court positioning and turning, getting to the ball, and getting in position to hit the ball well are absolutely essential skills for the wheelchair tennis player.

The youngest participant at the camp was Joanna Nieh, a 13-year-old girl from New York City, who is also the youngest nationally-ranked wheelchair tennis player in the country. Joanna had a great learning experience at the camp, and is working on applying those new skills in her game as she gets ready for the 2016 wheelchair tennis tournament season. The USTA Eastern Metro Region was happy to support Joanna and awarded her a grant to help cover her expenses. The Metro Region is proud of what she has accomplished already and cannot wait to see her play later this year.


Get ready for Junior Team Tennis in 2016!
Junior Team Tennis will begin their Intermediate Division league play on Saturday, Jan. 23 in facilities throughout the Metropolitan area. Matches will be played at the Cary Leeds Center, Cunningham Tennis, Harlem Tennis Center and the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on Saturday afternoons and evenings.


What is Junior Team Tennis?
USTA Junior Team Tennis brings players together to enjoy camaraderie and teamwork, providing a fun environment for kids to learn that succeeding is really more about how they play the game—win or lose. Play in USTA Junior Team Tennis involves singles, doubles and mixed-doubles, and is for children between the ages of seven- and 18-years-old. This year, the Metro League will include 10U, 12U, 14U and 18U Divisions.

Intermediate and Advanced Leagues: The cost for the Intermediate League is just $50 (plus a $5.25 Tennislink processing fee for registering) for the season, and USTA membership is required.

How to get started
If your child is interested in team play, the first thing you should do is contact a Junior Team Tennis coordinator. For the Metro area, the coordinator is Joan Akpan, who can be reached by e-mail at metrojtt@gmail.com or call (718) 258-4730. Teams are forming now.

The Highland Park team (pictured above) was one of the top 32 Junior Team Tennis teams from across the country competing for the 18 & Under National Championship in Cayce, S.C. in October. Congratulations to the Hawks for finishing 11th in the nation


Youth Tennis Leagues
More than 100 players are participating in the Fall Season of Youth Tennis Leagues (YTL) at three locations in the Metro area: Cary Leeds Center in the Bronx, Cunningham Tennis in Fresh Meadows, and the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows. The Winter Session will begin the end of January and spots are still available for Intermediate players ages seven through 12 at Cunningham Park Tennis (Sundays from 3:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m., start date of Jan. 23) and the Cary Leeds Center (Saturdays from 3:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m., start date of Jan. 30). For more information and registration, visit YouthTennisLeagues.com, e-mail youthtennisleagues@gmail.com or call YTL Director Joan Akpan at (718) 258-4730.


USTA Eastern Metro Board Volunteer Spotlight
Christina Bowllan, Junior Volunteer Chairperson

What school do you go to and what grade are you in?
I attend the all-girls, The Hewitt School, located on the Upper East Side, and I am currently a 10th grader.

How did you get involved with the USTA Eastern Metro Region Board?
I became involved with the Metro Board because I was interested in volunteering and love tennis. I contacted Jackie Clark about this board back in May 2015, and that was the start of me joining.

Why did you want to volunteer?
For the past couple of years, I have wanted to volunteer, but not with just any organization. I wanted to be involved with one that I could work and develop a relationship with. My goal now is to volunteer to see New York through all sorts of perspectives and find ways to help. I have always been interested in seeing New York in all lights, and volunteering has been able to do that for me.

What have been some of the activities that you have been involved with through volunteering with the Metro Region Board?
I have been involved in all sorts of events with the Metro Region Board. The first one I did was in May, and we handed out t-shirts to players and took pictures at a tournament.

Next, the Metro Region Board partnered up with the South Brooklyn Tennis Association (SBTA) and we volunteered for a couple hours in one of their city neighborhood parks. This event was the most memorable for me. It was a hot, summer day in August. There were all sorts of tennis balls flying around and too many kids of all ages to count, but all of them were so excited and enthusiastic to learn tennis! The kids lined up into three groups, and for hours, we would pitch them balls and they would hit them over the net. While they were doing this, the instructors would walk around and help them with their form. It was so great to see them so happy to learn how to play tennis and not want to leave!

Why do you think other high school students should volunteer in tennis?
Other high school students should volunteer because when you are a teenager, you are in an exploratory mode. We, as teens, want to know everything about anything, and why not target some of that curiosity toward a great cause? During high school, students are trying to figure out where they want to go to college and what careers they may be interested in, and everything you do outside of school somehow influences this.

Who is your favorite tennis player?
My favorite tennis player would definitely be Rafael Nadal. The Metro Region Board attended a Rafael Nadal event this past summer, and we were fortunate enough to see him play. This was the first time I ever saw him play in person and I loved it! He was so poised, polite and kind to all of those in attendance, and I was inspired just by watching him. After experiencing this, I recorded all of his U.S. Open matches and when he wasn’t playing, I would watch matches that he played in previous years. Oh, do I love Rafael Nadal?!

What is your favorite quote?
“If they give you ruled paper, write the other way” … a quote by Juan Ramón Jiménez.

What does tennis mean to you in a few adjectives?
Confidence, boldness and enjoyable.