NTRP Nationals Spotlight:
Erin Maher | May 1, 2019
In 2018, the USTA launched the NTRP National Championships, a national adult tournament that leverages the NTRP rating system as a way to create level-based competition. USTA.com is highlighting the players from the 2019 tournament who made the event extra special.
In this installment, we catch up with new wife and mom Jessica Dreher, who celebrated her honeymoon playing tennis at the NTRP National Championships. Learn how to qualify for the 2020 NTRP National Championships in your section here.
Tennis and motherhood isn’t just a balancing act reserved for the tennis elite, like Serena Williams and Kim Clijsters. Plenty of recreational players around the country split their responsibilities and passions between babies and baselines, diapers and drop shots. For USTA member Jessica Dreher, the NTRP National Championships gave the new mom a chance to enjoy tennis and family in a fun, competitive atmosphere.ADVERTISEMENT
Atlanta native Dreher was an athlete in her youth, playing soccer in school and competitively. But after her years of soccer ended, Dreher was longing to get back to athletic competition.
“After college, I really needed to do something besides get on the treadmill,” she said.
Dreher found tennis and quickly picked up the game and a passion for it. She started taking lessons, playing with friends, and she joined the USTA. Besides meeting her need for athletic competition, Dreher also met her now-husband Matt through tennis in 2014.
The two continued to play, with Matt making it to Nationals. In 2018, the pair decided to register for the Fast Four format of play locally. In August, both Jessica and Matt competed in the Southern Fast 4 National Qualifer Tournament. Jessica dismissed her three opponents in the 18 & over 4.5 women’s singles division, and Matt took all three of his singles matches, as well as two doubles matches in the 18 & over men’s 4.5 singles division. Thanks to their winning records, both qualified for the NTRP National Championships in the 18 & Over division, held in Naples, Fla.
But before the pair could hit the courts, they had a few life milestones to complete. In December 2018, Jessica gave birth to the pair’s first child, son Ryder. Three months later, Ryder joined his parents at their wedding, held just a week before the NTRP Nationals. What better way was there to celebrate, thought Dreher, than playing tennis?
“We knew Nationals was going to be the weekend after our wedding,” Dreher said. “So we thought, why don’t we just go to Naples and play and make that our honeymoon?”
So Dreher, her new husband and son set off for the Sunshine State to compete at the USTA NTRP National Championships. The Drehers’ NTRP weekend was full of swinging, serving and time well spent as a family.
“It was great playing, just enjoying meeting other people and spending time with the family,” Dreher said.
The newly weds both made it to the finals, with husband Matt taking the doubles title, and Jessica came in second place in her division.
With a big smile spread across her face, she held both her trophy and son for her second-place picture.
Even though the NTRP National Championships are over, Jessica and Matt can still be found on the courts regularly and, in a few years, hope to have another family member hitting with them.
When asked if her son Ryder was going to be playing tennis, Dreher laughed and said, “He doesn’t have a choice.”
Learn how to qualify for the 2020 NTRP National Championships in your section here.