Ron Cioffi  |  August 22, 2019


The United States Tennis Association (USTA) Southern announced today the selection of seven young tennis players as state winners of the 2019 USTA Foundation NJTL Essay Contest. The winning seven just completed a three-day trip to the Winston-Salem Open, in Winston-Salem, N.C., Aug. 17-19. The trip, with a chaperone, included a behind-the-scenes tour of the tournament, professional matches, an autograph session with American tennis star Frances Tiafoe and on-court recognition. The winners met and had their photo taken with Tiafoe and tennis coaching legend Nick Bollettieri.

The winners received free tickets to watch the pros play at the Winston-Salem Open, one of the American summer pro tennis events that comprise the US Open Series. Among the players in the tournament were three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray, who lost to Tennessee’s Tennys Sandgren in the first round, and American Sam Querrey.


“Attending the Winston-Salem Open in North Carolina is a special treat for many of our NJTL players,” said USTA Southern Director of Diversity, NJTL & Grants Cee Jai Jones. “Some are not only experiencing their first professional tournament, but they are also traveling on their first flight and meeting an ATP World Tour player up close and personal for the very first time.”

Youth Winner
; City/State; NJTL Chapter

Nyla Jones; Birmingham, AL; James Lewis Tennis Scholarship Foundation

Hunter Harrell; Augusta, GA; MACH Academy

Keena Hughes; New Orleans; A’s & Aces

Nyesha Nealon; Greenville, MS; Greenville CTA NJTL

Anna Thomas; Reidsville, NC; Rockingham County Tennis Foundation

Andrew Taylor; Dorchester, SC; St. George Youth Sports League

Jake Du; Cordova, TN; Tennis Memphis

For a gallery of downloadable winners, click here.

The USTA Foundation, the national charitable arm of the United States Tennis Association (USTA), today announced the 10 nationwide winners of the 21st annual NJTL Essay Contest. The winners, ranging in age from 6 to 18 all participate in National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) chapters nationwide, and were selected from more than 2,600 entries submitted this summer. Deloitte, one of the world’s largest professional services organizations, returns as the presenting sponsor of the NJTL Essay Contest and luncheon.

Winners from USTA Southern were, including their age bracket:

  • Kerrigan Cannon, Tennis Memphis (Tenn.), Girls/Boys 10 and Under
  • James Bostick, A’s & Aces, New Orleans, Girls/Boys 16 and Under
  • Jesse Simpson, Greensboro (N.C.) Tennis Foundation, Girls/Boys 18 and Under

This year’s USTA Foundation NJTL essay question asked: “This year marks the 50th anniversary of NJTL. What specific impact do you hope your chapter can make in your community today that you would want remembered 50 years from now?” To enter the contest, students were asked to answer this question in an essay of fewer than 350 words.

Each winner will receive a trip to New York City. The trip includes round-trip airfare for the winner along with a parent/legal guardian plus a three-night stay at a New York City hotel, participation in the Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day at the US Open, a Broadway show, and an awards luncheon at the Yale Club.


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