NH's Luneau Improving Day By Day
James Maimonis, Communications and Engagement Coordinator | May 21, 2018
NEW BOSTON, NH- In just three years of playing tennis, New Boston, NH’s Juana Luneau has already checked off more boxes than she could’ve imagined. She’s improved her NTRP rating from a 2.5 to a 4.0, she’s had undefeated seasons and swept through numerous tournaments, and most recently, she became a finalist at USTA’s inaugural NTRP National Championships in April.
Luneau, a competitive softball player by nature, decided to pick up tennis after getting married and moving to New Hampshire three years ago.
“Everything is far away up here and there isn’t much softball,” said Luneau, who competed for the Peruvian National Softball Team. “I didn’t really know anyone when I moved here, so I really wanted another sport to pick up and something I could play year round. So I thought tennis.”
Having never picked up a racquet previously, Luneau attended two clinics and took a handful of lessons and was immediately locked in. ADVERTISEMENT She was determined to play as much tennis as possible and become the best player she could, which at the beginning, involved three hours a day of practice.
“Since I’m new to New Hampshire, tennis is my everything right now, and because of tennis, I have friends up here,” said Luneau, who currently works a nanny. “I’ve met a lot of really good players and people and I’m really happy where I’m at. It’s so important to me to have those relationships; to always say hi on the court, always have fun and be respectful to your opponents.”
Luneau has played on numerous USTA League teams, but her bread and butter is USTA’s adult tournaments. She enjoys traveling throughout New England to compete on weekends and relishes the opportunity to encounter new faces on the court.
“I enjoy seeing different players and different games. Both mentally and physically it makes me work a little more,” Luneau said. “The biggest thing for me is improving myself, so I always try my best and have fun, win or lose. Tournaments are a great way to get better, I just wish more people came out to play on weekends.”
Although she hasn’t stopped improving, Luneau will be the first to admit she’s not the most technically sound player. She has an unconventional game and tends to lob often (more so at the beginning). She doesn’t hit the ball hard, and but her greatest strengths are the ability to detect her opponents’ weakness(es) and exploit it.
“I play against my opponents’ minds and try to outsmart them. People used to hate playing me because of my game, lobbing and running around back and forth to chase balls, but I’m becoming more consistent now,” she said.
Luneau has already won countless tournaments in her short time thanks of her scrappy style and overwhelming commitment to the game. She finished No. 2 in the 3.5 women’s rankings in 2017 and was rewarded with an unexpected trip to USTA’s 18+ NTRP National Championships in Surprise, AZ in April.
Of the 19 New Englanders that competed in the 18+ and 50+ divisions at Nationals, Luneau had arguably the most successful tournament. Battling the heat and humidity for 12 matches over three days, she reached the finals in women’s 3.5 singles and came in sixth in 3.5 doubles with partner Sorrell Downing.
“I felt very fortunate just to be there,” Luneau said. “This was a great opportunity and I never thought of myself competing at Nationals. I overdid myself a bit however and I almost fainted in the end. My mind was there, I just couldn’t run. I think it would’ve been a different result in the finals if I wasn’t so tired.”
Knowing how far she has come and where she wants to be, Luneau will have to keep striving for success at the 4.0 level, where she currently sits.
Beginning in July, USTA New England will launch a new adult tournament circuit. The circuit will run from July 1 to December 31 and will feature men’s and women’s 4.5, 4.0 and 3.5
NTRP levels in singles and doubles. Luneau will have her shot to reach to the 2019 NTRP Championships based on her circuit success throughout the summer and fall.
Check back on usta.com/newengland in the coming months for more details on the circuit.
Currently, USTA New England has four adult tournament divisions: NTRP, Open, 35s and 45s and Seniors. If you are interested in learning more about adult tournaments or finding a tournament near you, visit the webpage here.