Joyce, Lord named to USTA
Junior Leadership Team
May 1, 2017
Grace Joyce and Matthew Lord have been named to the second USTA Junior Leadership Team, which recognizes the finest U.S. junior tennis players who exhibit leadership, sportsmanship and character on and off the court.
Joyce and Lord are among 32 players nationwide named to the USTA Junior Leadership Team. Each player was nominated by his or her USTA section for excellence in tennis and in the community.
“These players truly are role models who exhibit character well beyond their years, both on the tennis court and in the community,” said Bill Mountford, the USTA’s Director of Junior Tournaments. “We’re happy to have a way to give them some of the recognition they truly deserve with the USTA Junior Leadership Team.”
Joyce, 17, has been the USTA’s top-ranked junior in every age group in New England and ranks among the Top 40 18-and-unders nationally. ADVERTISEMENT She’s won five national singles titles, eight national doubles titles and was a member of the prestigious USTA National Junior Team for 15- and 16-year-olds in 2014. She also has an 'A' cumulative average at Newton Country Day School of the Sacred Heart, with Academic Honors.
Lord, 18, from Bloomfield, Conn., is the No. 12 recruit nationally in the Class of 2017, according to TennisRecruiting.net, and the No. 1 prospect in New England. He reached the boys’ 18s quarterfinals of this winter’s USTA National Winter Championships, where he also won the sportsmanship award. A senior at Kingswood Oxford, he did two years of community service in Tobati, Paraguay, to help school children.
Each year, more than 120,000 players compete in USTA junior tournaments. Players compete in levels of competition through earned advancement in the 10s, 12s, 14s, 16s and 18s age divisions. USTA junior tournaments help kids take their game as far as they want – high school, college or pros – or just have fun competing.
In their own words...
Grace Joyce: Ever since I was a young girl, tennis has played a huge role in my life. From age 5 to age 17, I have always felt that this sport was a part of my identity that I valued and wanted to invest in.
Every true athlete faces many struggles and challenges throughout his or her career, but I believe that the positives one can gain from a sport outweigh any negative. I have been able to learn so much about myself, my peers and what it means to be a competitor through my experiences as a tennis player.
During my eighth-grade year, I had the opportunity to travel to Europe with three girls and four boys to represent the United States and compete against our peers from all over the world. When faced with the challenge of playing the second seed from Ukraine in the elite tournament Les Petit As, feelings of disappointment and discouragement inevitably arose in me. Despite this, I learned how strong the power of perseverance and self-confidence are in tennis and upset my difficult opponent in three sets.
These principles embodied on the tennis court also translate into my life on an everyday basis. The focus and commitment I exhibit on the tennis court carry over to the same focus and commitment that I exhibit in the classroom. During the many years of national travel for tournaments and camps, I have formed friendships and created memories that I will cherish for a lifetime. I am grateful for every opportunity that tennis has brought me and look forward to a future where tennis will always be a part of my life.
Matthew Lord: Tennis means everything to me. Without it, I wouldn't know where I'd be right now. I wouldn't be in the position where I am. Throughout the years, I've learned many things about competing. I learned how to work for the things I want and took competition off the court. Sportsmanship matters to me because it is important to act a certain way so people will think positively about you. My dad always says people are watching you in whatever you do, so you have to make a good impression. I take that to heart and make sure I do so.
One example of me showing good sport was at the last winter nationals. In one of the rounds, I played someone and beat him handily. He was very upset, and I noticed that and talked to him after the match, saying to him that this has happened to me many times, too. Just forget about this one and work hard in back-draws. His mood completely changed.
Tennis has taught me to become more of an independent person and more disciplined. It teaches me what the grind really is. Although I could've played many other sports, tennis is the sport I love and can't be without.