Steve Beatty (third from right) with his tri-level team at Nationals.
Steve Beatty, of Buffalo, N.Y., has played tennis since he was 10 years old, competed in many junior tournaments growing up and graduated to collegiate tennis. Now 24 years old, the game continues to be a huge part of his life. He is a teaching professional at Miller Tennis Center in Williamsville, N.Y., just outside Buffalo, an assistant tennis coach at Daemen College in Amherst, N.Y., and the captain of many USTA League tennis teams, including a men’s tri-level team.
For his dedication to the game, he has been named the USTA League Captain of the Month for January.
USTA.com: How many teams do you currently captain?
Steve Beatty: There are about 15 to 20 teams that I captain. In the summer I have one at just about every level. I played on my men’s 4.5 team and would have played others but I tore my ACL this past April so I could not play in my normal leagues this summer. I am just now getting back into playing. I will be playing on the men’s 4.5 team as well as 8.0 [and] 9.0 mixed teams in the fall. My tri-level team just made regionals.
I also work at Miller Tennis Center; I’ve worked there for seven years. I went away to college at Northwood University in Midland, Mich., and came home one summer, worked there and I have been here ever since. They can’t get rid of me.
USTA.com: How do you find the time to manage all these teams plus your jobs? You must really love the game.
Beatty: I pretty much eat, breathe and sleep tennis. This has been my sport since I was 10 and I am 24. The first time I captained though was four years ago. I don’t know how I find the time. Miller has been really supportive. The players help out if I can’t make a match, they take care of it. I have player-captains who acts as the captain if I can’t be there. In the summer I have more time and matches are at night, so I can watch a lot more of them.
I just started this past May coaching at Daemen College. It is a cool opportunity, we are building the team from scratch, and they had never had a team before. I teach about 10-20 hours a week at Miller and at our club we have tournaments we run as well as USTA Leagues.
USTA.com: What do you love so much about tennis?
Beatty: It is just relaxing and makes me feel better when I play. When I didn’t play for six months because of my knee injury, it was terrible. Coming back now I want to play every day. I was a good soccer player, too, but tennis was the sport I felt like I was really good at and the thing I could always turn to if I had a bad day at home or school. I always knew I had tennis. It is going to be part of my life forever.
I played all the local tournaments around Buffalo growing up and I went to Northwood. They were a top Division II program, [and] I played there for a year. I came home that summer and transferred to a local school, D’Youville College, and played on their Division III team.
USTA.com: How did you discover USTA League?
Beatty: I played USTA leagues when I was 18 or 19 for the first time but I had never captained a team before. I asked my league coordinator and she gave me info, and it just ballooned into what it is now for me. Now all the clubs around are trying to compete with me and my teams. All of them are trying to get on the USTA League bandwagon.
USTA.com: What do you enjoy most about being a captain?
Beatty: I love the competition. And I love the winning! But mostly I love seeing the players on my teams get better and improve every match.
USTA.com: How did you feel when you heard you were named Captain of the Month?
Beatty: It was pretty exciting; I didn’t really expect it. I know I do a lot but I don’t do it for recognition. I just want people to play tennis.