Staying Active with Tennis
May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month (AAPI). To celebrate, USTA Mid-Atlantic Foundation is honoring members of the AAPI communities who contribute to our region’s vibrant tennis family both on and off the court.
Ian Huang began playing tennis as a way to hangout with his friends while fitting in more exercise. Eventually tennis became his passion, playing both on his high school team and on the club tennis team at James Madison University. After graduating from JMU, he went to graduate school to become a chiropractor and acupuncturist. He currently runs his own clinic in Chantilly, Va. Ian keeps his love for tennis alive as a USTA League player and as a Local League Ambassador in Loudoun County, Va. Recently, Ian took his love for tennis to the next level by becoming a USTA Official.
USTA Mid-Atlantic caught up with Ian to find how tennis has made an impact on him and the Asian community.
How has tennis become an important aspect in your life?
Tennis has always been part of my life. I’ve met some of my closest friends from tennis. I used to be an avid computer gamer and tennis was one of the only reasons I would even go outside my room. Without tennis, I believe that I would’ve struggled to meet new people and even keep myself in good health.
In your opinion, why do you think it is important for ALL people to play tennis?
It’s an amazing way to meet new people and get some exercise. You will meet people from all walks of life, and you never know if you’ll meet a future best friend or even mentor. Even though tennis is seen as an individual sport, the adult USTA League format makes it very easy to meet and connect with new people.
Tell me about some of the people you’ve met while working in the Mid-Atlantic or through your involvement with tennis?
I’ve met many different people throughout my involvement in tennis. One person I met when I was playing club tennis for James Madison University was a USTA employee. She helped me get acquainted with USTA adult leagues after graduation.
What has surprised you most about tennis and its impact in the Mid-Atlantic region?
What’s surprised me about tennis is the amount of people who are extremely passionate about the sport. During my junior tennis days, tennis was tough and competitive. Now that I’ve joined adult leagues, I see many people playing because they enjoy tennis, not because they want to win. Even when missing easy shots, players can still smile and laugh it off. That kind of casual and fun tennis environment was new to me when I first started playing in adult leagues.
This year is USTA Mid-Atlantic's 100th anniversary, in what ways do you think tennis has evolved in the region's AAPI community over the last 100 years?
I definitely saw an increase in the prevalence of tennis within the AAPI community. Not just in USTA, but also smaller communities where people go out just to hit on nearby community/high school courts. I used to hold small tennis camps for kids, and saw an increase in interest in tennis camps from parents in the AAPI community.
Why is it important to increase access to tennis in the AAPI community?
I believe it’s important to increase access to tennis in the AAPI community because not only is it a great form of exercise, but it allows us to develop closer relationships. Tennis was one of the main ways I made new friends and reconnected with old friends over the years.
What would you tell someone interested in getting involved in tennis?
Definitely sign up for USTA Mid-Atlantic programs! There are many league opportunities as well as various educational materials USTA Mid-Atlantic provides. Also, reach out to the nearby Tennis facility or a listed provider and you can get started with lessons if you are just starting out.
Using three words, how would you describe tennis in the Mid-Atlantic?
Passionate, Competitive, Welcoming
This year USTA Mid-Atlantic, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is celebrating 100 years of promoting tennis and its physical, social, and emotional health benefits. Get involved and show your support for the next 100 years of tennis. Learn about our impact in the region and how USTA Mid-Atlantic creates community, character, and well-being.