Women’s History Month Spotlight: Stephanie Evans
Pushing Comfort Zones
Did you know that tennis has long been at the forefront of women’s equality in sports, especially in the U.S., thanks to trailblazers like Billie Jean King, the Original Nine, and Venus Williams. These women took a stance for equality and social justice and were responsible for the emergence of women’s professional tennis.
Today we honor their legacy during Women’s History Month by highlighting powerful, strong, and inspirational women in the Mid-Atlantic Section who make an impact on and off the tennis court. For our first spotlight, USTA Mid-Atlantic caught up with local USTA League player Stephanie Evans from McLean, Va.
Growing up, Stephanie was the first tennis player in her family. When she was given her first tennis lesson at a local club she was hooked.
“I loved the way it felt when you hit the ball right in the sweet spot of your racquet,” Stephanie said. Nowadays, she plays tennis as often as she can at her local courts in McLean. Tennis has been her outlet and most enjoyable activity, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We caught up with Stephanie, and she shared her perspective on why it is important to celebrate Women’s History Month based on her experiences playing tennis in the Mid-Atlantic.
USTA Mid-Atlantic: Why is Women’s History Month important to you?
Stephanie: It is important to support and recognize women and all that we have achieved and all that we strive to achieve in the future. There are so many women who have done great things in small and big ways and their stories are inspirational and motivational for others.
Who had an impact on your life growing up?
My mom. She immigrated to the U.S. from Taipei, Taiwan when she was 18 years old and barely spoke English. She had my oldest brother when she was only 19 years old and had to work and raise a family with three kids. She instilled in me that we have to work hard and life isn’t easy.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I always wanted to do something that would help others. I’m a corporate attorney and I love what I do because I feel my work enables my clients to achieve their goals and objectives.
How would you like to see Women in sports grow?
I think tennis has grown a lot as a sport for women. For instance, more tennis events have equal pay for women and men. Women’s tennis also promotes and supports its women players. As a result, we have great role models for our young girls such as Naomi Osaka, Serena Williams, and Coco Gauff. We should continue to spotlight and support female athletes across all sports.
Why is it important for women to play tennis?
It is a sport that gives you experiences and lessons that women can apply to life, such as how to handle stressful situations, how to compete, and how to build sportsmanship.
What would you tell another woman or girl interested in playing tennis?
A great way to play tennis and to get involved is to play tournaments and leagues. USTA offers so many opportunities to do that.
What does it mean to be a leader in the community?
I think it starts with caring about your community and being an active participant in whatever way you can. For example, I am on the board of a local non-profit organization called STEM for Her that promotes STEM-related careers for young girls in the DC, MD, and VA areas. Being involved in supporting our girls in many ways is important to me.
What was the best piece of advice you received when you were growing up and/or advancing in your career?
My mom said you have to do it yourself. No one can do it for you and it will take hard work and passion.
What advice would you like to give to the next generation of women leaders?
You have to do things that push you and that may be outside your comfort zone; otherwise, you will never know how far you can go or how much you can do.
As we continue to celebrate Women’s History Month we will be focusing on celebrating the inspirational women in the Section who use their leadership and passion for tennis to inspire future generations. You can find those spotlights on our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and we encourage you to share and join the conversation.
USTA Mid-Atlantic is a certified 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.