Kenya Conaway (right) is the USTA League Captain of the Month for April.
Kenya Conaway, 38, of El Paso, Texas, was a USTA League Captain of a 3.0 women's team for two years and a 3.5 team for one and a half years, before her friend Rose Salaiz took over her 3.5 team this season. She moved to El Paso in 2006 and jumped at the chance to play on a USTA League adult team and has been playing ever since. She went to the National Championships on a 6.0 mixed doubles team in 2008 and her 7.0 mixed doubles team went in 2009. She has been hooked on the game of tennis since college and has been named the USTA League Captain of the Month for April 2012.
USTA.com: What USTA League teams have you been captain of?
Kenya Conaway: A 3.0 captain for two years; 3.5 captain for one and a half years.
USTA.com: I understand your friend Rose took over as captain for you this spring. What level team is that?
Kenya Conaway: She took over the 3.5 team.
USTA.com: How long have you and Rose been friends and been playing tennis together?
Kenya Conaway: I've known Rose for about five years and we have been playing together for about 2.5 years.
USTA.com: If you could choose any doubles partner, who would it be?
Kenya Conaway: (My friend) Rose Salaiz! Rose taught me how to really have fun on the court. She brings out the best in my game, and I really enjoy playing with her.
How did you start captaining?
Kenya Conaway: Our 3.0 team captain moved out of state so I volunteered. After moving to 3.5, my friend and captain Jon'l Emmett asked me to step in for her, and I did.
USTA.com: Why do you enjoy being a captain?
Kenya Conaway: As a captain I got to see more of what goes behind making and keeping a great team, and it made me appreciate the game so much more. I also saw the impact that being a good captain has on a team. It's very true when they say that a team's attitude and demeanor is a reflection of its captain. I put my heart and soul into leading those ladies, and it showed in our success as a team and in our friendships with one other.
USTA.com: What is the best aspect of playing USTA League tennis?
Kenya Conaway: The competition! The ladies in El Paso are FIERCE! I also enjoy getting to travel to other cities to play at Sectionals and Nationals.
USTA.com: When/how did you start playing tennis? What do you love most about it?
Kenya Conaway: I had watched tennis on TV growing up, which is how I learned the rules. I then learned how to play in college when I took a tennis course for non-physical education majors at Michigan State University. I loved it, and decided to enroll in the second level course that graded on skill. I was the only female in the class. That's when I REALLY learned how to play! Tennis is the only sport that I actually enjoy playing and watching. It is a lot harder than it looks, and I enjoy the challenge in getting better. There is always something in your game that can be improved.
USTA.com: How did you first hear about/start playing in a USTA League?
Kenya Conaway: When I moved to El Paso in 2006, I went to a pro-am event at a local club and afterwards I was asked if I would be interested in playing on a adult league team. I jumped at the chance!
USTA.com: Have you ever been to the National Championships?
Kenya Conaway: Yes! I played on a 6.0 mixed doubles team that went to Nationals in Sacramento, Calif. in 2008. It was a incredible experience that I will never forget. I played on a 7.0 team that went to Nationals in 2009 in Las Vegas but I couldn't make the trip due to illness. My partner from that team still says that we could have won it all that year! My goal is to make it to Nationals with our women's team!
USTA.com: Who is your favorite tennis player?
Kenya Conaway: All time- Jennifer Capriati.
USTA.com: What is your favorite surface to play on?
Kenya Conaway: Hard courts.
USTA.com: What kind of racquet do you use?
Kenya Conaway: Prince O3 Silver.
USTA.com: What is your favorite tennis tournament and why?
Kenya Conaway: Like them all.
USTA.com: What is your favorite professional sports team, if any?
Kenya Conaway: Any team from Detroit.
USTA.com: What is the best part of your tennis game?
Kenya Conaway: My net game! The service box is My House when I'm playing the net!
If you could attend one Grand Slam tournament, what would it be and why?
Kenya Conaway: The US Open because New Yorkers know how to party! I would love just to attend one night match!