HHM: The inspiring tennis journeys of the Sequera siblings
In the world of tennis, the Sequera siblings — Milagros, Josuel and Maryori — have forged a path that exemplifies dedication, resilience and a profound love for the sport. Hailing from Venezuela, these siblings have each taken unique journeys in their tennis careers: Milagros transitioning from a professional player to positions at the USTA and USTA Southern, Josuel coaching young talents, and Maryori breaking barriers as a female coach.
In various ways, the United States has extended opportunities to all three of the Sequera siblings, and as they arrived here, they were eager and prepared to seize these chances for personal and professional growth. Each sibling responded to Southern’s request to describe their perspectives.
Milagros “Milly” Sequera Huss
Milagros reached No. 48 in the WTA rankings and won the 2007 Morocco Open in Fez.
Milagros began playing at age 5, where she quickly established herself as a formidable junior tennis player along with being strong at volleyball. At the age of 11, she concentrated on tennis and left her home country to pursue her dream of becoming a professional tennis player in the United States. This decision became a defining moment in her life.
In her own words, Milagros reflected on this transformative experience, "Playing tennis in the United States helped me see the real level of tennis. In Venezuela, I was a very good junior player consistently, and I realized to develop my potential I had a long way to go. Nonetheless, that gave me the motivation to continue to strive to improve and become better."
She also focused on her personal growth. When she left Venezuela with her parents’ permission, she was alone in a foreign country without knowing anyone or speaking the language, a daunting experience. Milagros remarked, "I had to be brave and focus on my goal. Very hard for someone so young - and it built my character and helped me become who I am today."
Milagros transition from a professional tennis player to a position at USTA, following her current role as Senior Manager, Adult Programs & Special Projects at USTA Southern, has significantly influenced her perspective of the sport. Name the positions. She explained, "I was given an opportunity with USTA National a few years back to work with the Professional Tennis Department. That was something I knew given that I spent time playing a lot of the USTA Pro Circuit tournaments and knew most of the tournament directors. It was a natural fit. After working with Professional Tennis, I was given an opportunity to join the Community Tennis Department."
This transition provided her with a broader perspective, from grassroots to the entire tennis ecosystem in the United States. It motivated her to innovate, engage and support anyone interested in tennis. She mentioned, “Tennis changed my life, and I want every adult to experience the health benefits of tennis, and every kid to experience the character-building the sport provides while having fun."
Josuel’s journey took a different trajectory. He found his calling as a coach, driven by a deep-seated passion for the sport and a desire to give back. For Josuel, coaching wasn't just a job, it evolved into his profession.
He shared his inspiration, saying, "Being able to give back to tennis for everything tennis has done for me and my family, being able to teach and share the passion for this sport. Initially, it was just a job, but over time, it became my profession."
As a coach, Josuel sets high goals for his players. He not only focuses on helping them achieve their tennis dreams but also on developing their character and responsibility.
"On the court, it's about helping them achieve their dreams, develop their best tennis skills, become good people on and off the court, and instill habits of responsibility and education from an early age," Josuel explained. "Off the court, it's primarily about creating leaders for this somewhat chaotic world, keeping the kids away from all the dangers that exist in today's real world. And what better tool than tennis to do that?"
Josuel believes that being a high-performance tennis coach goes beyond teaching the game; it involves mentoring and having a significant impact on the people he works with by maintaining the best attitude and doing things right.
Maryori focuses on overcoming challenges and embracing new opportunities. As a female tennis coach, she has faced unique challenges but has risen above them with grace and determination. "It wasn't easy for women to become successful coaches, and to have male coaches value their knowledge and work," Maryori reflected.
For aspiring coaches, especially those from diverse backgrounds, Maryori offers valuable advice. “First and foremost, coaches must prepare themselves. The fact that you've played tennis doesn't automatically make you a coach. You need to understand different teaching methods," Maryori emphasized. "Secondly, you should always keep an open mind and be willing to learn every day, not just from your students but also from other coaches."
Family has played a crucial role in Maryori's journey.
"As a player, it wasn't an easy journey because we didn't have the financial means to pursue tennis," she reflected. "It's all thanks to the tremendous support of my parents and the coaches who taught us the values of this great sport."
Today, Maryori is passionate about giving back to tennis and instilling those same values in the next generation.
The Sequera siblings have forged paths that revolve around family, determination and giving back to the sport that has given them so much. Their stories inspire us to pursue our passions, overcome challenges and create a lasting impact, both on and off the tennis court.