Q&A With USTA League Captain Rob Lane
Kendra Wicks | August 19, 2019
USTA League Tennis is nearing the end of its 2019 run with USTA League Section Championships taking place all across the Missouri Valley this August and September. We caught up with Rob Lane, a Kansas team captain who has led his 18 & Over 3.5 men’s team to the USTA League National Championships after winning the section championship in St. Louis.
How did you get involved in USTA League tennis?
Lane: My wife, Jennifer, is a tennis player. Two-and-a-half years ago, she invited me to a Valentine's Day drill, and I loved it. I started taking tennis lessons and I soon met a great group of guys who were all new to tennis. After playing socially for a few months, our natural desire to compete lead us to form a USTA 3.0 18+ men's team. Our first year, we made it to nationals where we lost to the Caribbean team who went on to win the championship. Last year, we moved up to 3.5 and lost in the finals of sectionals.ADVERTISEMENT
What are you most excited about as you head into USTA League Nationals?
Lane: Above all, I look forward to spending time with my teammates. Tennis has given me the chance to make friendships that will last a lifetime. Once we get on the court, it's all business, but those who see us off-court probably feel that tennis is just an excuse to hold a party.
What does your preparation for nationals look like?
Lane: Our team holds weekly practice matches which typically include players invited from other teams in Topeka. Danny Williams, tennis director of Genesis Health Clubs in Topeka, has been our coach and cheerleader since the team formed two years ago. Bronson Brassel, another tennis pro at Genesis, holds a group doubles drill open to team members. Players will also be focused on individual goals prior to nationals. Personally, I am working on improving my fitness for tennis and I regularly attend CrossFit classes.
What is the most enjoyable part of captaining a USTA League team?
Lane: I view myself as a player first and a captain second. Of course, in order to play USTA League tennis, someone must do the necessary organization and management. I'm sure there are players on the team who would do a better job than me, but I consider it an honor to be able to serve my teammates.
If you had the chance to meet any professional player, who would you choose?
Lane: While I have many "favorite" players, I would choose to meet Roger Federer. In my mind, he is the greatest tennis player of all time. More importantly, I think Roger has an unparalleled ability to maintain a high level of competitiveness while demonstrating good sportsmanship and all-around class.
Lane is a prime example of how simple and fun it can be to pick up tennis as an adult despite your age or previous experience, play socially or take it to the next level with a USTA League team, and compete alongside your friends as you battle toward the USTA League National Championships.