AN ACE OF A ROLE MODEL
August 23, 2019
Tennis is such a wonderful sport because it not only challenges you physically, but it allows you to build relationships with others and make lifelong friends. That is how Derek Yan, founder of Linx Tennis, a completely kid-run tennis social community in Maryland, describes his love for tennis.
When Derek was 11, he was playing tennis and basketball but ran into scheduling conflicts training for two sports. He wanted to maintain both sports so he decided to look for tennis partners in his own community and create schedules to meet up and play together. He put his idea out among his neighborhood and got more responses than expected in a variety of ages and skill levels. That is when he realized a need for a social community to help support young tennis athletes, and how Linx Tennis began.
Derek leads the Linx Tennis community and has been playing tennis for five years now. Today, Linx Tennis offers a buddy system for junior players age 8 to 16, and helps them improve their tennis skills, build relationships, make friends and share their love for tennis. Through Linx, Derek has spearheaded several successful USTA Junior Team Tennis (JTT) teams - including two teams that have advanced to Nationals - and has coordinated multiple JTT charity events, including Linx’s Marathon for Alzheimers and Smash for Stress Øut. He is setting high standards for himself and his organization.
“My goal is to continue to expand our non-profit organization and make tennis more accessible to juniors in local communities,” Derek says. “Linx currently has over 380 players and my short-term goal is to introduce the sport and our social platform to 1,000 junior players within three years.”
Derek’s accomplishments as well as his exemplary leadership recently won him a 2019 USTA Mid-Atlantic Section Award and he is now been named by USTA to be part of the inaugural Net Generation Aces Program, representing the USTA Mid-Atlantic Section. He was selected as one of 17 Net Generation Aces in the nation because he embodies Net Generation character pillars: respect, responsibility, listening, effort, teamwork, and sportsmanship.
“I am really excited to become an Ace! As an Ace, I would like to use this opportunity to communicate with social leaders from other Sections, share knowledge, and learn from their experiences,” Derek said. “I would also like to gain more visibility with local and national media to draw more attention to junior tennis in local communities.”
As an Ace, Derek will be attending the 2019 US Open as part of a four-day VIP trip which includes a suite experience at Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day and a working session with USTA senior management and professional players, where the Aces will provide feedback on current USTA initiatives and discuss future programming.