Organizer of the Month

January 2020

January 22, 2020

Each month, USTA Eastern selects a passionate advocate who has made exceptional contributions within the community through tennis. This month we honor a tennis pro who helped propel a young USTA Eastern team to a national championship.


There’s No Sulking in Tennis


Rookie of the year? Making his debut as a Junior Team Tennis (JTT) coach, Milo Hauk–a tennis pro at the John McEnroe Academy on Randalls Island—helped lead USTA Eastern to its first-ever victory in the 14 & Under advanced division at the 2019 USTA Junior Team Tennis National Championships, held this past November in San Antonio.


The win also marks the first time the section has finished at the top in any age group at JTT Nationals since 2012, when teams from the tri-state area captured titles in both the 14 and Under intermediate and 18 and Under intermediate divisions.



Hauk says the key to the kids’ success was not as much about the X's and O's as it was about working together, and rooting for each other, as a team.


“I’m competitive and I wanted to win,” Hauk (pictured above, far right) explains. “But I told the kids, ‘If you’re not playing, you have to be supporting and cheering for your teammates. It’s a team competition—the first thing is to have fun.’”


Hauk’s directive paid off—especially after the team got off to a shaky start. Eastern came up short in both the boys’ singles and girls’ singles matches in the final against USTA Texas.


“After both players lost, we still had [boys’ and girls’] doubles and mixed doubles,” Hauk says, noting that if Eastern won all three they could still take top honors. “I told them, ‘I know you lost, it was a close match. But you can’t go off and sulk—you have to cheer for the team.”


In the end, that support made the difference. Eastern went on to claim two close victories in boys’ doubles and girls’ doubles. Then, in a nice little bit of redemption, Giuseppe Cerasuolo and Nina Wiese—the two players who lost their respective singles matches earlier in the day—partnered to win the mixed doubles, effectively capturing the championship.


“[Capturing mixed doubles] was so big for them,” Hauk notes. “But they were all tight contests, and it really came down to the last match. So the teammate support [throughout] definitely helped.”


Even though it was his maiden year coaching JTT, Hauk knows firsthand just how a team environment like JTT can enhance tennis. A former top-ranked USTA Eastern junior, Hauk participated in team events like Zonals and Junior Davis Cup. He then went on to compete for St. John’s University.


“Tennis is mostly an individual sport, so I think JTT is a great opportunity for young players to experience a team atmosphere, especially if they eventually want to play in college,” Hauk says. “And [if they get to Nationals], they get a chance to explore the culture of a different city!”


To learn more about Junior Team Tennis, click here


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