In Her Own Words:
Adaptive Ace Reflects on US Open
USTA Adaptive Tennis Committee | October 1, 2019
16-year-old Angelina "Gaila" Fosbinder of Charlotte, N.C., an active participant in the Charlotte ASAP Wheelchair Tennis program, was selected as one of 17 Net Generation Aces, a youth tennis ambassador program that made its debut this year, from each of the USTA's sections.
Fosbinder (pictured, second from right, top row), who suffers from arthrogryposis multiplex congenita, was one of two adaptive tennis players to be selected to the program. Here are her thoughts from her summer adventure.
I was given an amazing opportunity with the USTA by being selected as one of 17 Net Generation Aces. Each Ace was nominated from a different USTA section and selected for our community work involving tennis, and our overall love of the sport.
The Aces program was created to bring together a strong group of young leaders and give us a platform to make a positive impact on youth tennis.ADVERTISEMENT
When I got the email notifying me I was selected as an Ace, I about fell out of my seat! My excitement grew because written near the bottom, in bold, it said that all 17 of us were invited to New York for the US Open. This is any tennis fanatic’s dream.
Now fast forward to Aug. 24, our official first day there. The day went by in a haze and was possibly the best day of my life! The exclusive US Open experience was out of this world. We got to tour Arthur Ashe Stadium, go to a suite, and get our official badges.
Though getting a badge may not seem that exciting, for me it was because that badge got me into places that I would not have been allowed to go otherwise. I met Venus Williams, Sloane Stephens, the Bryan brothers, the amazing other 16 Aces, and many more tennis players and USTA workers.
I also got to see many famous tennis players like Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic, and Rafa Nadal. The highlight of the day was my interview with Sloane Stephens--and if I do say so myself, it went really well.
Then on the 25th, we were the “business Aces.” Each Ace presented what we were doing in our community to benefit others through tennis and gave ideas how to help the youth and the USTA in general. The intelligence and kindness of this group is so evident. It’s great to be working with them.
The last day was bittersweet. Leaving the other 16 Aces was hard because we had built a strong bond considering we’ve only known each other for three days. That day was also sweet because I got to reunite with my friend Billie Jean King (who actually remembered me!) and to get my mom exclusive seating to see her favorite women’s tennis player.
This USTA trip was so rewarding not only for the experiences that I had but also for the new platform that I am a part of where I hope to make a bigger impact. I want to use tennis as a platform for inclusiveness, the gaining of confidence, building of mental strength, and give other kids a new passion to excel socially and physically.
I hope to bring more awareness to wheelchair and standing adaptive tennis. I want to represent the youth with disabilities in tennis and make them proud.