By Jeffrey Seals
The 7.0 mixed doubles team from eastern New Jersey has only been together for three years, but they have their children to thank for helping the squad reach Las Vegas for the USTA League Mixed Doubles National Championships.
The team is comprised of Chinese nationals that immigrated to the United States and came together after picking up the game while their children attend weekend schools that teach them their native language.
“The state of New Jersey has many Chinese schools and a lot of Chinese communities,” noted Kathy Yang, who resides in Morristown, while other members of her team live nearby in Edison, Bridgewater, Parsippany, Basking Ridge and Princeton. “A lot of the schools offer tennis classes for the kids also. When the children are in school the parents meet up and play different sports.”
“Ten years ago in China there was not much tennis being played,” said Yang. “It was for the elite. Most of us started playing when we came to the U.S. for graduate school.”
Yang, who has been playing the game for 6-7 years, joins other parents and children that team up in their own games. Groups get together for the North-South games, which take place once a month from October to March.
“The kids play first before the parents, usually from 7 to 9 pm, while the parents play from 9 to 11:30 pm. We usually play three men’s doubles and two mixed doubles matches. Sometimes the types of matches change. They aren’t always the same. The players range from the 3.5 to 4.0 levels.”
Most of the team that is participating this weekend in Las Vegas has been together for three years with some making their second appearance at the national championship, while others are here for the first time.
Yang found previous success in 2005, when her 3.0 women’s team went to Tucson, Ariz., for the nationals.
“Tennis is very fun and competitive.”
This year’s edition from New Jersey is hoping to duplicate the success of another home state team that claimed the 7.0 mixed doubles national championship last year. “We had another Chinese team from New Jersey make sectionals also.”