Blazing the Trail for Future Generations of Tennis Greats

March 14, 2022

Women’s History Month is an opportunity to commemorate and celebrate women who are blazing trails, impacting their communities and inspiring future generations to pursue their dreams. This month, USTA Mid-Atlantic honors women in the section who are making their mark in their own unique ways both on and off the court. 


From neighborhood courts to Grand Slams, from family play to fierce competition, Clervie Ngounoué is a notable rising star in women’s tennis. 


Clervie picked up her first racquet when she was three years old. As she was growing up, she watched her father teach her older sister how to play tennis, so her gravitation toward the sport was only natural. 


“We had a little park with tennis courts, a swimming pool, and a playground behind our apartment so we spent a lot of time there,” said Ngounoué. “When the courts were taken, we’d find another park nearby and it just became natural to all of us.”


Fast forward a decade and Clervie has become a decorated and notable rising star in women’s tennis. From winning the Orange Bowl U12 in 2018 to becoming a Grand Slam Girls’ Doubles Champion in 2022 - her journey to greatness is just beginning. 

Rooted in Mid-Atlantic tennis, Clervie began her tennis journey at the Metropolitan Tennis & Education Group in Silver Spring, Maryland. Building on her established foundation, she was a member of USTA’s Excellence Program, which trains NJTL youth based on their elite level of tennis ability, educational success, and commitment to the pathway to become student-athletes at the collegiate and professional levels. 


When asked how she would describe tennis in the Mid-Atlantic, Ngounoué said, “Motivating. Prodigious. Incomparable.”


Tennis continues to motivate Clervie to new heights every day. “Tennis has become an impact aspect in my life,” she said. “[It] teaches me things about myself that I probably would have learned later in life. It has a way of forcing you to figure things out, but in a fun way.”


Today, Clervie trains at the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy and draws inspiration from notable players like the Williams sisters.


“Growing up, I always looked up to Serena and Venus,” said Ngounoué. “I never doubted having them as role models/inspiration to me. Their fighting spirits and attitudes on and off the court is what really drove my mindset of becoming the best athlete I could possibly be. And even today I still constantly think about them and all their achievements.”


Just as she looks up to role models in her life, Clervie has become an inspiration for junior girls across the Mid-Atlantic and beyond. Her passion and commitment to tennis, and drive to make a difference in the community is how she has become a role model for girls across the Section. 


In celebration of Women’s History Month, we sat down with Clervie to learn why the growth of women and girls playing tennis is important to her. 


“I would push a lot of girls to play tennis, even if it is just to try because you’re constantly learning,” she said. “It’s a never ending cycle of learning physically, mentally, and emotionally. I’ve gotten to know myself so much, especially in the last couple years just from playing tennis.”


Tennis creates character and well-being, and as soon as you pick up your tennis racquet and step out onto the court you feel the endless benefits of the sport. As Clervie noted, tennis challenges you in many ways, but the number one thing to remember is to have FUN. 


“Be patient with yourself,” said Ngounoué, “I know, I know, “hit a ball in the middle of racquet strings over the net, how hard could it be?” Let’s just say it’s not easy so don’t be so hard on yourself. Just make sure you HAVE FUN. That’s what matters.”


Celebrating Women’s History Month is an important period of reflection and gratitude for those that paved the way before us, Clervie noted. “It really means a lot to devote this month to all the fantastic women I know, and others around the world. You truly make a difference,” she said. 


As Clervie celebrates the trailblazers that made it possible for her to live out her dreams, we are looking forward to the impact that she is leaving on the Mid-Atlantic today and for many years to come. 


“It means so much to be a person that other people look up to. Whether it’s in tennis, another sport, or just life in general. Being an inspiration to other people will always be my inspiration,” said Ngounoué.


Join our Women’s History Month celebration following us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and by subscribing to USTA Mid-Atlantic’s YouTube Channel


USTA Mid-Atlantic is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to promoting tennis and its physical, social, and emotional health benefits. Learn about our impact in the Section and how USTA Mid-Atlantic creates community, character, and well-being.

Skip Advertisement


Related Articles

  • Wooden tennis racket laying on a bed of grass.
    Courting Success Pt. 3
    September 15, 2023
    The 11 players in the next capsule collection forged a path to success at a young age, with many of them earning accolades in junior competition and high school tennis. From there, their tennis success catapulted them to collegiate and Pro Tour accomplishments. To this day, several of the players in this collection work or play in the Mid-Atlantic and continue to give back to tennis through careers in the sport. Read More
  • Wooden tennis racket laying on a bed of grass.
    Courting Success Pt. 4
    September 15, 2023
    Some of the most influential players have at one time called the Mid-Atlantic home. During our Centennial Celebration in 2023, USTA Mid-Atlantic will highlight 50 noteworthy and intriguing players. Read More
  • Serve up your best shot! Submit a photo to The Centennial Photo Challenge for your chance to be featured during the Centennial Gala. Read More