Lambert, Allen named to USTA Junior Leadership Team

May 01, 2017

Isabella Lambert and Jackson Allen 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.


Lambert and Allen 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.”

Lambert, 17, a resident of Minnetonka, Minn., has been one of USTA Northern’s top juniors in every age group, having been ranked No. 2 in the section’s 18-and-under rankings and on the cusp of the Top 100 in the USTA National Standings. She was the 2016 Minnesota State Class AA singles champion at Minnetonka High School and a four-star recruit on She has committed to play at the University of Minnesota in the fall. Lambert also volunteers for a local homeless shelter and is an honor-roll student.

Allen, 18, from Shakopee, Minn., has been ranked No. 1 in the Northern Section in every age group and has been in the Top 40 nationally in the 18-and-under rankings. The 2016 Minnesota state boys' singles champion at Shakopee High School, he enrolled early at the University of Minnesota on a tennis scholarship. Allen has also been a volunteer mentor for USTA Team Northern.

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...

Isabella Lambert: Tennis is one of the few things in my life that I know will always be there. Whatever I am going through at the time, I know I can always go play tennis and forget about those other things. Although most people would agree that they have a love-hate relationship with tennis, it is more than worth it.

I’ve played the sport nearly all my life, and nothing has taught me more lessons. I’ve learned so much about myself that I never would have learned if I did not play the sport. I’ve learned about sacrifice, faith, confidence, determination and much more. I’ve also met so many important people in my life that have helped make me the person I am today.

One of the biggest things I have learned from tennis is that it teaches you character. Everyone wants to win and make her ranking higher and higher, but at the end of the day, it matters who you are as a person. It also teaches you how to deal with stress, nerves and learning how to not just start well but to finish well.

Another one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that hard work really does pay off. Tennis also teaches self-respect. Another very important lesson tennis has taught me is to never quit. There have been countless times where I have been on the court and have been down in a match or not playing my best because of my state of mind. Every time this happens, I just ask myself what kind of person/player I am and then realize that I am not a quitter and that I will keep fighting.

Overall, I am so very thankful for the sport of tennis, and I cannot wait to see where it continues to take me in life.

Jackson Allen: Every setback is a setup for a comeback. That’s exactly what happened to me in the summer of 2014. It was my first year of 16s, and I was eager to make a name for myself at the big summer tournaments. I was dedicating myself day in and day out to being as prepared as I could possibly be for the summer schedule. I knew that if I performed well, I would get recognized by college coaches. Everything was going as planned.

It was late May, and I was feeling confident with where my game was at. But then things started to go wrong. It started with a stiffness in my lower left back. That stiffness eventually became shooting pain. It got to the point where it was very painful to even walk. I went in to get it checked out. They found that I had two stress fractures in my lower left back. It meant that I would have to sit out of all physical activity for six weeks. I was devastated. This meant that I could not pick up my racquet again until the middle of July. I would be too rusty to try and play all of the biggest tournaments. It was in that moment of setback that I realized how much I truly cared about the game of tennis. Having to sit out gave me the time to reflect on my game and where I wanted to take it.

At the time of my injury, I was ranked around 120 on Once the six weeks was up, I was hungry for success. I practiced with a fresh motivation. I knew where I wanted to go, and I knew what it would take to get there. By the time the summer of 2015 rolled around, I had a full year of good training and was feeling healthy. I utilized the opportunities in front of me and had a successful summer. I’m now ranked 25 on Every time I take the court, I recognize how lucky I am to be in the position that I am. I compete to my fullest every match, knowing that the game can be taken away at any moment’s notice. I can truly say that every setback is a setup for a comeback.



Skip Advertisement


Related Articles

  • Visit the NAITA tournament page
    NAITA tournament
    June 02, 2023
    The 2023 North American Indian Tennis Association's national tournament carried on an annual tradition that began in 1976 with tennis, music, a kids' clinic and more. Read More
  • Visit the Jack & Jill fun at US Open page
    Jack & Jill fun at US Open
    February 24, 2023
    At the 2022 US Open, the USTA hosted non-profit organization Jack and Jill of American for a day of tennis at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Read More
  • Visit the 2023 focuses for juniors page
    2023 focuses for juniors
    December 16, 2022
    After analyzing nationwide data and analytics, the following adjustments will be made in USTA sanctioned junior tournaments in 2023. Read More