Nathan Nguyen is never going to forget his afternoon at the 2017 Arthur Ashe Kids Day. He played tennis on center court at the US Open, won thousands of dollars for his National Junior Tennis and Learning chapter and got to meet his tennis idol – Rafael Nadal!
Nathan is an 8th grader at Michael Lunsford Middle School in Chantilly, Va. and a member of the DMV/4 Star Excellence Team. The DMV/4 Star Excellence Team is one of 12 teams from across the United States where youth players learn the importance of hard work, community service, grit and graciousness. Competitive play and education through tennis are especially emphasized by Nathan’s Metropolitan Tennis and Education Group coaches Malcolm Green, Jeri Ingram and Bob Pass. MTEG is the local National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) chapter connected to the DMV/4 Star Excellence Team.
Nathan had two major accomplishments that embodied everything that his coaches stressed to him over the years. On Saturday, Aug. 26, Nathan participated in the Annual Arthur Ashe Kid’s Day target hitting contest in front of tens of thousands of fans. He competed against other boys and girls representing other Excellence Teams to see who could hit the most targets within 30 second intervals. The competition was played out on the Arthur Ashe Stadium court at the Billie Jean Tennis Center, just days before the pros would be taking center stage there at the US Open. The boy or girl who hit the most targets would advance to the “money” round and compete with top tennis professionals from around the world. Talk about pressure!
Nathan (pictured middle) stayed calm and won the competition among his peers by a narrow margin beating out his Excellence Team teammate Malkia Menguene 17-15. Nathan then advanced to the “money” round where he competed against Angelique Kerber, Rafa Nadal, Venus Williams and Roger Federer. Each target hit won $1,000 for the player’s charity or NJTL. Nathan continued to show off his tennis prowess and won $18,000 for MTEG, which will help many underserved youth to develop their tennis skills and experience cultural enhancing events. Nathan also got to take a photo with Rafa after the competition!
Just as impressive – Nathan was a Section Champion in the Boy’s 13/14 age group in the USTA Foundation’s 2017 NJTL National Essay Contest. The contest was exclusive to children who participate in NJTL chapters nationwide. This year’s question asked: “In addition to tennis, education and life skills are extremely important to the development of our youth. Which one of the three components above is most important to you, and how will it help you throughout your life?”
In his responses, Nathan showed that his skills extend beyond the tennis court; he’s thoughtful and embodies the values of the NJTL Network.
Nathan is truly an exceptional individual. He regularly participates in community service events and charity work with his Excellence Team members, has a 4.3 GPA and always displays excellent sportsmanship on the court. Other accomplishments include:
- Top of his math class and received Honor Roll in 5th, 6th and 7th grades.
- Selected from USTA National coaches in Orlando, FL to represent Team USA and traveled to Canada to compete against the best players in Canada. Nathan was instrumental in Team USA winning against Team Canada in April 2017. Finished number 1 in 12 and under in Mid-Atlantic for Doubles and number 2 for Singles. Top 40 in 12 and under in the nation. Won L2 doubles in Rochester, N.Y. in October 2016 and won another L2 doubles in Virginia Beach, Va. in May 2017. Participated and competed well in Orange Bowl in 2016.
- Nathan was selected to represent USA Virginia Development Academy to travel to Barcelona, Spain to play in an International Junior tournament called Mundialito in Spring 2017. This tournament is extremely competitive and players traveled from Brazil, Spain, Portugal, Angola, France and England to participate.
- Played piano for 2 years, currently taking lessons and playing guitar. Also enjoy fishing, playing basketball, reading, social media and gaming.
Ronnie Goodall is the Senior Manager of Community Tennis & Diversity at USTA Mid-Atlantic. His photo with Gael Monfils is one of his most prized possessions.