WHM: A's & Aces' Matison Williams has high aspirations

James B. Ewers Jr. Ed.D. / Special to USTA Southern | March 28, 2023

At different times in life, you get opportunities to have experiences that strengthen your hope in the future. They start with a bit of apprehension and end with great exhilaration and applause. When you have these meritorious moments, you are swept away in them and only two words can describe the euphoria. Oh my!


I had a conversation recently with Matison Williams, a thirteen-year-old student at Lake Forest Charter School in New Orleans, who also playing out of the award-winning A's & Aces NJTL. Within the first four minutes, I was awe-struck. Her level of self-confidence and composure made our dialogue thoroughly enjoyable. Matison began playing tennis when she was seven years old. Her dad gave her a list of sports and she chose tennis. She said, “I started playing tennis because I didn’t see anyone playing the game. Most of my friends were playing other sports.” Arguably, it could be said that Matison wanted to chart a course of her own. In some respects, she wanted to be a leader. She just didn’t know it at the time.

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Tennis is a sport that provides you with numerous leadership opportunities while you are competing. You must make quick decisions and be confident about making them. You can’t second-guess yourself because if you do, the point will be over. Matison believes that respecting others on the court is an important aspect of her game. She said, “As a competitor, you must show respect for your opponent and for the tennis volunteers at all times.” She admires Serena Williams and Coco Gauff for their accomplishments and achievements. Matison has a particular admiration for both because of how hard they hit the ball with accuracy and their service games.


This rising player first learned about A’s & Aces while a student at Lake Forest Charter School. Founded in 2008, the mission of A’s & Aces is to provide academic assistance, life skills and tennis to New Orleans children. Matison enjoys very much being a part of A’s & Aces. She credits them with the improvement in her overall game. She said, “When I started, I didn’t know much about tennis. Now, I am playing tournaments, and I can see the progress in my game.” She added, “Being mentally tough and having determination are important aspects of my game. I must focus when I am on the court.”


Matison has already competed in many USTA Southern junior tournaments and will continue to rise in the USTA rankings. She will be returning to the courts soon as she is finished recovering from an injury. Coach Alvin Varnado, co-director of A’s & Aces and the director of tennis said, “Matison is a joy to be around and is quite serious about her tennis game. She has the skills and the drive to be a top Louisiana junior player.”


As I talked with Matison, it was her persona that impressed me. She did not shy away from questions and her answers were clear and concise. My thinking is that this teen knows exactly what she wants to do with her life. Matison is a straight A student at Lake Forest Charter School, a high performing public school that has received several state and national awards for its academic excellence.


Matison is a member of the band and the Art Club at her school and already knows the importance of making good grades in school. This appetite for high level achievement and excellence will carry over to her high school and college days. Matison wants to become a marketing director. As I listened to her energy and enthusiasm coming through her voice, I believe she will achieve that goal with class and distinction. So, let’s be on the lookout for Matison as she knows she has what it takes to be successful.


Congratulations to her parents for creating an environment that is allowing Matison to find her way in the world. The journey for Matison Williams has only just begun. I know there is so much more to come!

James B. Ewers Jr. Ed.D. is a member of the Black Tennis Hall of Fame, a trustee of the Southern Tennis Foundation amd the former chair of the USTA Louisiana Diversity and Inclusion Committee.



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