Nicole Berger Awarded Youth Tennis Provider of the Month
USTA Missouri Valley is shining a spotlight on impactful members of the tennis community as they recognize a Youth Tennis Provider of the Month.
The April recipient of this award goes to Iowa’s very own Nicole Berger, Director of 10 & Under Tennis and Assistant Tennis Manager at Life Time Athletic in Urbandale.
Since Nicole arrived at the club this past summer, she has expanded their programming to encourage more junior players to find their passion for the game. Lifetime’s 10 and under program went from 80 junior players to well over 150 players in just seven months.
“The most important part of youth tennis is exposing juniors to the game of tennis for the first time in a fun way,” said Berger. “With the new Net Generation and SMART tennis format, tennis is fun for all who try it. I am really excited about the summer program. Life Time Athletic in Des Moines has teamed up with parks and recreational programs throughout central Iowa to provide tennis. By bringing these programs to the community, we will be able to reach more junior players!”
“Nicole was hired on at the club about a month after I was hired to manage the program,” said Arnold Wehrenberg, Life Time Athletic Tennis Manager and USTA High Performance Coach. “When I first met Nicole and discussed goals of growing the sport, her vision aligned with my vision as well as Life Time’s vision. Nicole puts her heart and soul into what she does on the court and her passion is contagious. I look forward to the future of youth tennis with her on our coaching staff.”
Berger’s tennis journey began as a Junior player at Wakonda Club in Des Moines when she was 12 years old. A budding elite professional, she graduated from Dowling Catholic High School and went on to play for a top-ranked women’s tennis program at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan along with earning her Bachelor of Business Marketing, Professional Tennis Management.
Before moving back to Central Iowa, Berger was the founder and owner of Paradise Tennis in the Florida Keys for ten years. She was recognized in both 2018 and 2015 as the USPTA Professional of the Year for the Florida Keys along with her husband, Brock Wilson, being named the 2017 USPTA Professional of the Year for the Florida Keys.
In 2017, Berger was the recipient of Florida Tennis Volunteer of the Month. She went above and beyond in creating adult and junior tennis play opportunities and supporting the tennis community in the Florida Keys. That same year, the Iowa-native volunteered to support the Florida Keys tennis community by mentoring young USPTA teaching professionals in the USPTA U30 program, and organizing a first-time middle school team tennis league.
A wheelchair tennis USPTA Certified Coach for over ten years, Berger has volunteered her time and supplies to World Access Project, an organization who supplies used and refurbished mobility equipment to people with disabilities throughout Mexico. In addition, she has traveled to Mexico to facilitate wheelchair tennis camps with the organization.
When asking Berger what was on her tennis bucket list, her mind quickly turned to her tennis community.
“I would like to start the first-ever USTA wheelchair tennis program for central and western Iowa. The first clinic was scheduled for April, however with USTA activities on hold, we are hopeful to start the program in June.”
She also added that she would like to “offer more recreational tennis match play opportunities for beginner and intermediate junior players, and to play more tennis herself!”
The mother of two is passionate about growing the game of tennis. She continues to mentor and guide aspiring players and coaches, volunteers and hosts clinics to introduce and expand youth tennis while serving as a resource for many in the tennis community.