Spreading the Love of Tennis to Youth
Passion for tennis spans all generations and that’s true of the Mid-Atlantic Section tennis community. Tennis connects the young and old bridging generations to learn from one another, build bonds and develop well-rounded perspectives that help facilitate personal growth. As we continue to celebrate AAPI Heritage Month, we gain perspective from one of our most fervent high school players, rising senior Anbo Li.
Anbo is from Montgomery County, Maryland and first started playing tennis when he was 10 years old. His love for the sport took off and soon he started the tennis club at his school. Not only that, in ninth grade, Anbo started teaching kids at Quince Orchard Tennis Club. Eventually, he learned how to string his own racquets and started his own stringing and customizing business called GrandLine Workshop. Now, as a teen, Anbo’s business has partnerships to string racquets for Aces & Deuces, a kid-led non-profit that teaches tennis to underprivileged groups, and the Montgomery County Public Schools. USTA Mid-Atlantic chatted with Anbo to get his viewpoint on tennis in the Mid-Atlantic.
What drew you to tennis?
I love how tennis isn’t a one-dimensional sport. You have to not only be quick and strong, but cool-headed and cunning as well. There are infinite ways to set up a point and finish with a winner. It all depends on your playing style. In addition, no point is ever the same.
Was there a player/role model you specifically looked up to?
Roger Federer has been my inspiration ever since I watched the 2017 Australian Open Men’s Final between Federer and Raphael Nadal. I was stunned by how aesthetically perfect all Federer’s strokes were. Since then, I have been chasing my own dream of being able to hit a forehand with heavy wrist lag and a crisp one-handed backhand.
What’s your perspective on diversity & the Asian community in tennis? Nationally? In the Mid-Atlantic?
In the Mid-Atlantic area, not only is there a strong Asian-American tennis community but across the region, the tennis community is very diverse. I see players of various races and ethnicities out on the courts and this isn’t the case in other parts of the country or even in other sports.
What does it mean to be a leader in the tennis community?
A leader in the tennis community takes charge, recognizes problems and addresses them, leads by example, and most importantly, empathizes with the players.
How would you like to see tennis grow in the Mid-Atlantic?
Tennis is an expensive sport. If we could lower the cost of equipment, more players from lower-income families would be able to play.
*USTA Mid-Atlantic offers a Junior Player Scholarship Program to help defray the cost of participating in tennis. By donating to USTA Mid-Atlantic, you not only support the Junior Player Scholarship but other programs that make tennis more accessible.
As you think about the future, what is your wish for your generation and the sport?
I hope that our generation will be able to reinvigorate excitement for tennis in the U.S. and that tennis continues to prosper after the era of the Big 3 (Roger Federer, Raphael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic) is over.
Anbo’s commitment to tennis is a piece of what makes the Mid-Atlantic Section special. His love for the sport led him to help create opportunities for more youth to play at his school and he is one of the reasons why we believe that tennis creates community.
As we continue to celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we will be focusing on uplifting and amplifying the voices of AAPI tennis players from the Mid-Atlantic region. Make sure to check out our previous spotlights from Alex Chan here and Chris Tran here or on our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and we encourage you to share and join the conversation.
USTA Mid-Atlantic is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that helps people and communities grow stronger, healthier, and more connected through tennis. Learn about our impact in the Section and how you can help bring tennis to more communities throughout the region.