Eastern at the 2022 NTRP National Championships
Team Eastern lifted two championship trophies at the 2022 USTA NTRP Championships, held April 1-3 (singles) and April 8-10 (doubles) in three locations across the country: the Pelham Racquet Club in Pelham, Alabama, the Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego, California, and the Surprise Tennis and Racquet Complex in Surprise, Arizona. Kelly Reid, of Saugerties, N.Y., captured the singles title in the 40 & Over 3.0 Women's division, defeating Stacy Goldberg of USTA Midwest, 4-3, 4-0, while Brooklyn-based duo Lisa Frantz and Julie Veto claimed victory in the 40 & Over 4.0 Women’s doubles event, over Ivet Hernandez and Ali Quintado of USTA Florida, 4-3, 4-0.
“I always aim high and hope to hit my mark, but you just never know how a match will go,” Reid said after her final match, which she contested at the San Diego location. “My personal goal for the championships was to win. I think I only confessed that to about three people, but I really wanted to bring home the W. It was an incredible feeling!”
Competing in her first-ever tournament on the national stage, Reid specifically credits her coach, Rich Rumble, as a major key to her success over the course of the weekend.
“His belief, positivity and advice kept me encouraged and focused,” she said. “Besides [his support], I think what I did well in matches was figuring out my opponent’s weaknesses early on and doing my best to exploit them. And also just making sure to keep warm between matches, stretch, hydrate and try to keep nerves in check.”
Indeed, Reid displayed few nerves as she made her way through the draw, clinching two of her three flight matches in straight sets to advance to the elimination rounds. In the one three-setter she did play, she overcame a slow start to emerge victorious.
“I was overconfident and wondering where I would go for lunch after,” she said with a laugh. “[After losing the first set], I had to adjust my attitude, realize that I was not Ash Barty, give my opponent some respect and refocus my attention. I won without too much trouble after that.”
Her toughest match, however, would come in the elimination rounds in the semifinals. Reid and her opponent—Rita Williams of USTA Northern California—split sets in a back-and-forth battle that ultimately culminated in a final-set tiebreaker.
“Twice during the match I was down 0-3—once in the third set and in the tiebreaker,” Reid said. “It was so tight. But I told myself to not give up, that I needed to dismantle her strengths and play the game the way I know how to play. Patience and sheer determination were the keys to my win in that one.”
Working out these kinds of matches is precisely why Reid began regularly competing in NTRP events almost a year-and-a-half ago.
- Eastern competitors Marija Vareikaite and Sarah Jaramillo pose at the NTRP National Championships in Surprise, Arizona.
- Eastern's Quentin Phung and Brent Smith reached the finals in 18 & Over 3.0 Men's doubles tournament at the 2022 NTRP National Championships.
- Louise Arkel claimed third place in the 55 & Over 3.5 women's singles tournament at the 2022 NTRP National Championships. (Photo Credit: Kyle Hess/USTA)
- Eastern's Christopher Chan and Casey Schnabel claimed fourth place in the 18 & Over 4.5 Men's doubles tournament at the 2022 NTRP National Championships.
- Eastern's Alison Bonaviso and Annie Berger at the 2022 NTRP National Championships.
- Eastern players Jason Lam and Joon Kim at the 2022 NTRP National Championships.
- Eastern's Maritoni Carlos and partner Karen Zellner warm up for a match at the 2022 NTRP Championships.
“I initially wanted to play these tournaments to really test my skills,” she said. “You can play all your hitting partners, but there isn't the element of figuring out how to beat someone after a while. I enjoy that puzzle of figuring out an opponent’s game.”
While Reid had already established some familiarity with NTRPs, Frantz and Veto were newcomers to the offering and, in particular, its first-to-four-games format. Primarily USTA League players, the pair wasn't sure what to expect heading into their championship weekend, also in San Diego.
“My expectation was certainly not that we would win the tournament,” Veto said. “But it sounded like a fun way to spend a long weekend in an interesting city with a good friend and partner, and that we could work on improving our play in different situations.”
Frantz and Veto have known each other for almost five years but had only been competing together as a team for the last year or so upon their arrival to the tournament. With Veto’s consistency at the baseline and Frantz’s prowess at the net, the team found just the right formula to flummox their opponents and amass an undefeated 4-0 record in their flight matches—though they had to fight through four tiebreaker sets (and one three-setter) to emerge unblemished. Veto felt the tight battles ultimately helped the team to acclimate and focus in on their gameplan.
“We did have a couple close ones,” Veto said. “[But] we were very pleased with our record in both the tiebreaks and the no-ad deuces. We faced opponents that we didn't know, and we tried to assess their playing styles as early as we could so we could adjust our strategy. Some would lob or not hit as much pace as we are used to, which caused us to overhit or to be too tentative at times. We just had to remind ourselves that hitting as hard as we could was not always going to be the most effective strategy, and that sometimes it was okay to play safely.”
Frantz also noted the conditions factored into the Brooklyn team’s initial play.
“We needed to adjust to playing outside,” she said. “We were rarely overpowered, but we lost a few points due to lack of experience serving with the sun or having to lob with the elements. We are true NYC indoor players who probably only play 10-15% of our yearly matches outdoors!”
The early tests prepared them for later success in the elimination rounds: In both the semifinals and the finals, the team faced a tiebreaker in the first set before more easily claiming victory in the second. The pair was also bolstered by the confidence they developed as they progressed and the excitement they shared in reaching the late stages of the tournament.
“It felt amazing to be in the finals—I had not competed in a tournament at this level since junior tennis 40 years ago!” Frantz said. “We couldn’t believe we’d made it, so we psyched ourselves to believe that we could win. That first set was tough and very close, and we won in a sudden death tiebreak point, but that put us over the hurdle. It gave us the confidence to close the second set 4-0 swiftly and decisively.”
The experience has ultimately convinced the close friends to expand their tennis horizons beyond USTA Leagues in the future.
“I competed in the initial NTRP tournaments on a whim, but now I’m interested in seeking out more and learning about other opportunities that exist, including age-level tournaments,” Veto said. “We are usually so busy playing leagues that we don't think past it, but I like that these tournaments are on weekend days and don't require a long-term commitment of a team. It's a nice counterpoint to League play!”
Other notable Eastern results:
Brent Smith and Quentin Phung (Finalists, 18 & Over 3.0 Men's Doubles)
Louise Arkel (Third Place, 55 & Over 3.5 Women's Singles)
Christopher Chan and Casey Schnabel (Fourth Place, 18 & Over 4.5 Men's Doubles)
Full 2022 USTA NTRP Championship Results:
San Diego, California (40 & Over): Singles + Doubles Results