Sturgill, Subhash named to USTA Junior Leadership Team

May 01, 2017

Ian Sturgill and Natasha Subhash  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.


Sturgill and Subhash 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.”

Sturgill, 17, a resident of Madison Heights, Va., is rated as the No. 40 prospect nationally in his class on and is already one of the Top 5 18-and-under boys in the USTA Mid-Atlantic Section standings. He reached the final 32 of the USTA Boys’ 16s National Championships this past summer. Additionally, he works with his local Junior Team Tennis program, helping 7-12-year-olds.

Subhash, from Fairfax, Va., started the year ranked among the Top 30 junior tennis players in the world, according to the International Tennis Federation, and she recently represented the U.S. in the 16-and-under Junior Fed Cup qualifying rounds in Mexico. She’s been ranked No. 1 in the 12-, 14- and 16-and-under age groups in the USTA standings, and she won a match at the US Open Junior Championships as a 14-year-old. She trains at Four Star Tennis Academy in Fairfax, where she also helps special-needs kids learn tennis under the club’s KEEN program.

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...

Ian Sturgill: Tennis has been a major part of my life from the beginning. It has played an important role in molding my character into who I am today. As a whole, tennis is a very solitary sport. I can only rely on myself on the court. I can only blame myself if I do not perform. Thus, tennis has taught me the important of self-reliance. It has also taught me just how important determination and perseverance are. In order to succeed in tennis, you must have determination – a bull-headed stubbornness, if you will. You literally have to be unwilling to lose. But at the same time, tennis is a game of losing. You are always losing a point or a game. It teaches you to control your emotions, even in the face of great odds. In that way, tennis really is preparation for the remainder of life.

Natasha Subhash:
I have been playing tennis since I was four-and-a-half years old. I am passionate about this sport! I have learned how to play it, how to train to be fit to play it and to also embrace the discipline of the sport and respect it. My parents inculcated in me the values of hard work, honesty and gratitude. In tennis, I see the reinforcement of those values. I have to work really hard to improve my game, and I have to be honest as I play the game in the right spirit. I am also grateful for all that the sport has given me! My life has been richer with the traveling that I have been doing to play in different tournaments. I have traveled to Italy, France, Russia, Brazil, Paraguay, Canada and Mexico and recently to Australia to compete in the Australian Open. My horizon has broadened, and I have learned so much from my travels.

Traveling on my own has taught me to be independent. Most people do that when they go to college, but for me, tennis has been instrumental in teaching me to do things on my own, whether it is doing my laundry when I travel or making sure that I have a player to hit with before my match and also staying on a budget. There have been many challenges to surmount. My physical ability has been stretched to its maximum, and I have had to work harder to maintain my fitness level. My studies have had to be balanced, along with my desire to excel in tennis. Sometimes that is really tough, especially when I am traveling and competing overseas. I have tried my best to not let go of my commitment to learning and keeping up with my school work even when it was really arduous. At Four Star Tennis Academy, where I train, I try to give back by coaching children with mental disabilities who come there to learn tennis under the “KEEN” program. This is a very rewarding experience and has taught me to always be thankful for what I have.

One of the experiences that stands out in my memory is the 2015 Hard Court Nationals in San Diego. I went in as a top-seeded player, and I lost a very close match in the semifinal round. I was so disappointed and distraught! The winner of the tournament stood to gain a wild card to the US Open. I eventually ended up being the third-place winner in the tournament. The moment when I was chosen for the sportsmanship award was very significant to me. As it turns out, a week later we received word that I got a wild card to the qualifying round of the US Open. It made me realize that diligence and discipline are always recognized, and I should never give up! Tennis has taught me to be strong both physically and mentally.



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