Tennis Has the Power to Bring People Together
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.
Avery Meng, CJ to her friends, was born in Anshan, Liaoning, China, and moved to Seattle, Wa when she was a teenager. She currently lives in Williamsburg, Va., and is finishing her law degree at The College of William and Mary. This spring marks CJ’s first time playing USTA League tennis in the Mid-Atlantic Section, on a team of friends she met at her tennis clinic. USTA Mid-Atlantic caught up with CJ to hear how tennis has benefited her and become an important part of her life.
When did you start playing tennis?
I started playing tennis in middle school. I remember watching Federer play on the sports channel and I fell in love with him. Then there was The Prince of Tennis, the anime, which was huge at the time and one of my favorite shows.
How has tennis become an important aspect in your life?
I fell in love with tennis. Tennis is an outlet when school or work gets overwhelming and stressful. I love the freedom I feel on the court. I also love having to solve problems quickly and staying resilient throughout the match.
What would you tell someone who is in the AAPI community that is interested in playing tennis?
Give it a shot; maybe you will discover your buried passion for it.
Why is AAPI Month important to you?
AAPI is a month to celebrate the culture and history of AAPI communities while shedding light on the hardship these communities have historically faced.
What is your perspective on diversity in tennis? Nationally? In the Mid-Atlantic?
I think the tennis community is becoming more diverse. However, I certainly want to see more diversity, particularly from the AAPI community. I encourage anyone who is interested in the sport to join. After all, sports are a universal language and shared passion across the globe.
As you think about the future, what is your wish for your generation and the sport?
I wish more people will join the tennis community, regardless of their skill level.
What three words would you use to describe tennis in the Mid-Atlantic?
Fun, Inclusive, Accessible
What do you think about the work USTA Mid-Atlantic is doing to make tennis more accessible through programs, services and grants?
I love the work USTA Mid-Atlantic is doing because it allows more players at all levels to find leagues or tournaments to practice their skills, meet people, and have tons of fun.
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 such an organization, it is extremely hard to find tennis partners and meet like-minded people. The organization makes it possible for people like me to keep the sport in our lives, be competitive, and have fun.
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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