When she was just five-years-old, Sarah Youngberg went to the U.S. Open, witnessing tennis up close and personal for the first time in her life … she was hooked.
“On the train ride home, I asked my mom if I could start playing tennis,” Youngberg, now 14, recalled. “I started off by just hitting against a wall.”
From there, Youngberg would continue to work on her game whenever she could, but didn’t actually play on a tennis court until she was eight-years-old, when she started going to Stadium Tennis Center, where she has been training for the last six-plus years.
“The people here are so kind and welcoming,” Youngberg said of the staff and members of Stadium Tennis Center. “They want the best for everyone, even if that person isn’t trying to become a great tennis player and want to just have fun. They welcome everybody. The staff here really cares about each person, and it is a great environment to be a part of.”
Youngberg was ranked 30th in the USTA Eastern Section and 481st nationally as of late December, and those rankings should continue to rise as she continues to improve upon her game and travels the country playing in high-level tournaments.
“You have to work before you can get better,” said Youngberg. “I think I have become a smarter tennis player since training at Stadium Tennis. Being out on the court more has helped me learn how to find my opponent’s weaknesses and improve upon my strengths.”
Some of the main focal points for Youngberg when she trains are to sharpen her footwork and refine her strokes, and her passion and enthusiasm for the sport will only help her progress and take her game to the next level.
“Sarah is the poster child for our academy,” said Eric Faro, director of tennis at Stadium Tennis Center and Gotham Tennis Academy. “She came up through our QuickStart programs and has been with us all the way. She has developed into a top Eastern Section player with an incredibly bright future.”
Growing up, and even still today, Youngberg played a multitude of sports, including lacrosse, basketball, soccer and softball, all of which have helped shape her overall as an athlete.
“Playing other sports has helped me develop a team mentality which is something you can use in life,” Youngberg said. “In tennis, you are out there by yourself. I enjoy being part of a team, but I also like being out on the court by myself, so playing other team sports gives me a good balance.”
Youngberg says she is cutting down on some of the sports she plays to focus more on tennis, but will still play basketball and softball, while playing in more national tennis tournaments.
“One of the first things I said when I started playing tennis was that I wanted to have a great time and meet new people,” said Youngberg. “I think tennis has made me a better person. I enjoy talking to people, and I enjoy being around other players. So when I travel to these tournaments, it gives me a chance to meet people who aren’t in the Eastern Section and make new friends. It’s great to see everyone again at other tournaments.”
For now, Youngberg wants to continue to work on her aggressiveness as a player, a playing style she embraces. If her growth as a player over the last couple of years is any indication and she continues to work diligently along with her coaches at Stadium, the sky is the limit for Youngberg.