Serving Connections on and off the Court
May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month (AAPI). To celebrate, this month USTA Mid-Atlantic is uplifting voices from the AAPI communities who contribute to our region’s vibrant tennis family both on and off the court.
“Exciting, talented, and underrated.” Those are the three words Jeremy Chung uses to describe tennis in the Mid-Atlantic Section.
For Jeremy, tennis in the Section has created many opportunities for growth. It allows him to make friends on and off the tennis court, even throughout the pandemic. Tennis also creates well-being, “[tennis] keeps my spirits high,” he said. “On stressful days, it helps clear my head.”
Tennis created an additional growth opportunity for Jeremy when he became a USTA Mid-Atlantic High School Ambassador. In 2021, Jeremy was one of 25 high school ambassadors who used their voice and platform to promote tennis across the section.
“As a Mid-Atlantic High School Ambassador, I connected with peers via Instagram to drive conservation on tennis and the social, mental, and physical benefits,” Jeremy said.
With tennis being such an important aspect in Jeremy’s life, USTA Mid-Atlantic wanted to find out more how tennis has impacted his life as a player and member of the AAPI community.
USTA Mid-Atlantic: Tell us about yourself, where did you grow up and where do you live now?
Jeremy Chung: I am a current sophomore at Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, Maryland, where I play on my school’s tennis team. I was born in Houston, Texas, but I moved to Potomac when I was two years old and have lived here my entire life.
When did you start playing tennis?
I started playing tennis at 11 years old. Before playing, I tried many other activities such as chess and piano but never felt a deep enthusiasm for them. Until one day when I turned on the TV and came across a tennis match with Nadal, that was when I slowly started to develop a passion for tennis after noticing his determination and perseverance.
What would you tell someone who is in the AAPI community that is interested in playing tennis?
Go for it. There are so many resources out there for people to start playing tennis and it’s a sport all age groups should enjoy. This isn’t just to the AAPI community; this message should go out to all groups for them to start playing tennis.
Why is AAPI Month important to you?
AAPI Month is important to me because it’s when we celebrate our diverse culture and highlight the contributions the AAPI community brought to our society. As an Asian-American, seeing images that reflect who I am mean a lot.
What is your perspective on diversity in tennis? Nationally? In the Mid-Atlantic?
I think that tennis nationally and in the Mid-Atlantic is very diverse. Many next-generation American players like Brandon Nakashima and Coco Gauff are paving the way for future generations. Representation matters in the sport since many junior players like me look up to professional players representing my race and cultural background.
As you think about the future, what is your wish for your generation and the sport?
I wish to see more and more American tennis players gain prominence on the professional tour. My dad always talks about how he used to watch the great American tennis legends. However, it’s unfortunate to see that dynasty come to an end. I hope we can see American tennis back to what it was.
What does it mean to be a leader in the community?
Being a leader means listening to your community and working with them to solve problems. I understand the importance of teamwork and know I can’t accomplish goals by myself, which is why I look forward to working with others.
What do you think about the work USTA Mid-Atlantic is doing to make tennis more accessible through programs, services and grants?
It’s great to see the USTA Mid-Atlantic's work to make tennis more accessible to the community. It’s incredible how they plan to build a large tennis center in Virginia and also hand out many grants to tennis organizations that are helping out with USTA Mid-Atlantic’s initiative to improve tennis accessibility.
Why is it important to have an organization such as USTA Mid-Atlantic working to increase access to tennis in all communities in the region?
Without the USTA Mid-Atlantic, it would be challenging for aspiring players in the community to engage in the sport through tournaments, flex leagues, etc. The organization offers a lot of accessibility for all community members to have fun, meet new people, and most importantly, play tennis.
Jeremy’s love for tennis extends across the Mid-Atlantic community and beyond. His passion and dedication to the game leaves a lasting impact here in the Section. At USTA Mid-Atlantic, we look forward to seeing where Jeremy’s tennis journey takes him.
By highlighting accessible programming, using social media to showcase their love of the game, and by welcoming all types of players on the tennis court, Jeremy’s influence as a high school ambassador is changing the game. If you are interested in learning more about the USTA Mid-Atlantic High School Ambassador program, make sure to explore the program's application here. You can also show your support for this program and others like it by giving to USTA Mid-Atlantic.
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.
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