USTA Missouri Valley
USTA Missouri Valley | May 1, 2018
"Tennis is where we develop our integrity"
During the month of May, the USTA would like to honor and pay tribute to tennis moms. We want to give thanks to mothers who support their children reaching their goals at every level of the game. Mothers play a critical role in a player’s development and we wanted to recognize these special moms. The USTA Missouri Valley is honoring Asuko Han of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Asuko is the mother of Nathan and Alex Han.
Why is tennis a special part of your life?
Tennis is where we develop our integrity and life skills. The sport is very mental and lonely sometimes, and you have to figure out how to solve the problem on your own. It is a very physical sport, and you can develop great fitness. Also, it is not a contact sport, so that aspect reduces the injury rate compared to other team sports, and I like that part.
And if you are on a team, you can develop team spirit, comradery and loyalty. It can be a very social sport that you can play for the rest of your life.
Why do you think it is important for your children to play tennis?
First, the boys love the sport. They enjoy the competition and the comradery they have with friends. They learn so many life skills, such as patience, endurance, overcoming hardships, perseverance, never giving up, respect for coaches, parents and opponents, and how to lose gracefully.
How long have your kids been playing tennis?
Nathan started tennis when he was around 5 years old. We had just moved from Louisville, Ky., and did not have any furniture in the house, meaning we had a lot of open spaces and walls. At that time, we loved watching a Japanese animation called “Prince of Tennis.” Nathan was inspired by the cartoon and started hitting sponge balls against the walls. Alex just followed whatever Nathan did, so he started a little earlier than Nathan.
What are some of your boys’ notable tennis accomplishments?
Nathan won a gold ball at the Boys’ 14 Hard Court Championships, and he won two Grade 4 ITF junior tournaments. He is currently ranked No. 2 nationally in the Boys’ 14s, No. 1 in the Boys’ 12s and 14s sectionally, and he represented the U.S. at junior tournaments in Europe.
Alex won a bronze ball in Boys’ 14 doubles at the Hard Court Championships, and he won the Missouri Valley Sweet 16 for Boys’ 12s and 14s. He is ranked No. 15 in the Boys’ 14 nationally, as well as No. 1 in the Boys’ 12s and 14s and No. 2 in the Boys’ 16 sectionally.
What is your most memorable tennis moment?
That is when I saw Nathan compete at Les Petit As in France. He played against a French player, and thousands of people were cheering against him. It did not faze him; rather he was pumped up and competed hard. I was shivering during the match.
What has tennis taught you about your children?
They get motivated by positive comments and being praised. They are hard workers, and they are growing into young men with integrity.