Wheelchair Spotlight: Cary Leeds Center
Wheelchair tennis has found a new home in the Bronx borough of New York City, thanks to a new program at the Cary Leeds Center (CLC) for Tennis & Learning.
In January of 2018, Executive Director of Tennis at CLC, Liezel Huber, decided that in addition to the bustling offerings that the center currently has for tennis players of all ages, it should have a new one – one aimed at wheelchair tennis players.
“I’m certified in teaching wheelchair,” said Huber. "And since there isn’t that much opportunity for the wheelchair players, it just made sense for us to start it.”
To garner interest in the program, Huber reached out to other facilities, looking for wheelchair players who would be interested in participating.
With four players participating in the program, which runs for two hours every Saturday, Huber takes to the court herself to teach the wheelchair players.
Huber became the Executive Director of CLC in June of 2017, after a prestigious career as a professional tennis player. Throughout her career, she amassed 53 doubles titles, including seven Grand Slam championships.
The age range of the players is expansive, anywhere from teens to the early fifties.
Amongst Huber’s wheelchair players is 16 year old Joanna Nieh, the 2017 BNP Paribas World Team Cup champion.
“Joanna’s goal is to play the Paralympics in 2020,” said Huber. “For me, the fun part is coaching with someone who is playing at that elite level.”
Besides the on-court instruction, Huber also provides court time to the players, so they can sharpen their skills and put what they have learned into practice.
The players are gearing up for their first tournament to be held the end of March. Huber hopes to continue to run tournaments monthly, helping her players get the most that they can out of the program.
“With this wheelchair program,” noted Huber. “I hope that our wheelchair players inspire others in wheelchairs who maybe have never picked up a racquet, and be a mentor.”
For more information on the Cary Leeds Center for Tennis & Learning, click here.
Pictured above: Liezel Huber and the wheelchair tennis participants.
Photo Provided by Liezel Huber.