Brooklyn fifth-grader Kayla Moore is a dedicated young tennis player who trains at Gotham Tennis Academy and Stadium Tennis Center in the Bronx. And despite her age, Moore has already set lofty goals for herself as she pursues a tennis career.
“My goal is to become a professional tennis player,” said Moore. “And I’m just going to work hard every day, and continue to try and get better in order to do that.”
Moore is already one of the top-ranked players in the country, ranked 14th nationally and second in New York State for girls in the Class of 2027, according to TennisRecruiting.net. With a big serve and solid groundstrokes, impressive for a girl her age, Moore has the game and desire to make consistent progress as she goes through her training.
That work ethic has already made her one of the jewels of Gotham’s program.
“Kayla has evolved greatly as a player and matured a lot as a person over the last couple of years,” said Andy Stuber, Program Director for Gotham Tennis Academy. “She has become an inspiration for our other Academy players.”
Moore has trained at Gotham for about the last three years, and says she has seen a lot of improvement in her game during her time there.
“There are a lot of other great kids there that you can play with,” said Moore. “It’s always fun, and the coaches are really good. I love getting to meet new people. There is always someone better than you there, and it’s a great challenge to be able to play against them so you can continue to get better and better.”
Moore began playing tennis after being inspired by her older brother, Michael. She went to watch him practice one day, and the more she watched, the more she wanted to play.
“One day, he bought me a racket and started to teach me tennis!” she recalls.
That teaching was effective as Moore quickly took to the game, and has only continued to improve as she has transitioned into formal training. She idolizes both Serena Williams and Roger Federer:
“They both play so aggressive and go for everything,” she said. “They are the best out there, and I want to be good like them.”
In addition to tennis, Moore does some boxing training, which helps her become more aggressive and also builds up cardio and fitness. The dynamic between boxing and tennis is a similar one, as in both you are going one-on-one against someone, and you need to utilize both physical talent and mental strength in order to succeed.
Moore has translated her training into success on the court. Towards the end of 2019 she won a number of different tournaments, including consecutive titles at the L1B Fall Challenger and L1B Challenger, both played in her home club at Gotham Tennis Academy.
Tennis has also provided Moore the opportunity to travel around the country, something she says she really enjoys.
“I love travelling to different places, and being able to see new things and try new food,” said Moore, who has played tournaments in many different spots including Florida and Pennsylvania.
Moore is well on her way to a successful tennis career, and is a prime example of what the Gotham Tennis Academy is all about.
“Kayla’s best qualities on the court are her work ethic and her tenacity,” said Eric Faro, Gotham's Director of Tennis. “For a player her age, she is able to generate extraordinary power. Off the court, she is a regular, goofy kid. She has a sparkling personality, and she also gives back by committing time each week to teach young tennis players in the community.”
Brian Coleman is the Senior Editor for New York Tennis Magazine. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org