Love All: One League Team’s (Successful!) Adventures in Matchmaking

This post is written by Heather Carr and tells the story of what happens when a league team is nearly as dedicated to its matchmaking as its tennis. Happy Valentine’s Day from USTA Mid-Atlantic!

After 10 years of League matches, tournaments, practices, social gatherings and countless hours together, a tightknit team of couples and friends had evolved and set an ambitious goal in 2017: Making it to Nationals in the 4.5 men’s, 4.5 women’s and 9.0 mixed divisions. We never thought it would really happen, but after many local league and postseason matches, lucking out with a wildcard to Regionals and eventually winning Sectionals, we did it!

The achievement of playing at Nationals in the mixed, men’s and women’s levels in November was incredibly exciting. We are proud of this accomplishment, but would like to take this opportunity to reflect on the journey we took to get here. It not only brought us together for this occasion but has given us many other special moments along the way.

These are the stories of love and friendship that would most likely not have happened were it not for our love of tennis and the USTA! Introducing Heather Carr, Jan Neumann, Kelly Moler Glass, Ben Glass, Kelley Regan-Cosca, Chris Cosca, Mario Ceste and Anne Polino: the 2017, 18 and over 9.0 Mixed Doubles Team that represented the Mid-Atlantic Section, otherwise known as the “Wrecking Ball.”


Year: 2008
Location: Newport News, VA
Event: Adult 18 & Over Mid-Atlantic Sectionals

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The Northern Virginia women’s and DC men’s teams were enjoying a joint Italian dinner together to give Heather Carr an opportunity to actively recruit for her upcoming mixed doubles team. She was introduced to Jan Neumann (rooming with Mario Ceste at the time) who was a newcomer to DC-area tennis. Heather invited Jan to play on her team and Jan wisely accepted.

Fast forward six months to after one of their mixed doubles victories, where Jan had tried to impress Heather with his biggest serves. Yes, Heather was definitely impressed, but as a result, Jan injured his shoulder. Being a physical therapist, Heather offered to help Jan rehabilitate his shoulder. Heather will never forget teaching Jan a shoulder exercise where he was kneeling on one knee in front of her. At that moment she thought to herself, one day this man is going to get down on one knee again and ask me to marry him… Eight years later, Jan and Heather played together as a married couple at the 2017 Mixed Doubles National Championships.


Year: 2012
Location: Newport News, VA
Event: Adult 18 & Over Mid-Atlantic Sectionals

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Kelly Moler, Kelley Regan, Ben Glass, and Mario Ceste were out at the Red Star Tavern. A few months prior, Heather Carr had mentioned to Kelly Moler that Ben Glass was a “really great guy” from Jan’s team.  Heather had a little tennis get-together where Kelly found that out for herself.  Ben is a very deliberate and slow-moving person while Kelly is not.  So, after months of flirting through emails, Kelly told her teammates she was just about ready to give up on the whole thing.

Dr. Kelley Regan (Kelly’s doubles partner) stepped up and asked Ben if he was interested and, if so, he had better act on it now…Minutes later, he asked Kelly out.   Thank goodness for Kelley Regan’s intervention! Otherwise Ben and Kelly would likely not have ended up dating, getting married, having their lovely daughter Kenza, or playing together as a marital mixed doubles pair with their friends at the National Championships.


Year: 2013
Location: Newport News, VA
Event: Adult 18 & Over Mid-Atlantic Sectionals

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Kelly Moler had a debt to repay to Kelley Regan – after all, Kelley Regan was the linchpin in bringing Kelly and Ben together. Now it was Kelly’s opportunity to return the favor, and she had identified fellow League player Chris Cosca as a potential good mate for Kelley. Mastermind Moler had been working on Cosca, convincing him that Regan was the woman for him. Chris certainly knew who Kelley was, but Kelley was not quite sure who he was.

That all changed in front of the Marriott at City Center (just steps away from the Red Star Tavern) where Kelley got her first look at the handsome Cosca. Once this spark was ignited, Chris and Kelley joined forces on and off the court, leading to numerous victories, a marriage and a baby boy. They’re now busy raising their adorable 1-year old Parker and are thankful to have had the chance to play together at Mixed Doubles Nationals.


Years: 2008-2015
Situation: Mario is single.

The solution: During post-tennis meals, Mario’s teammates coach him on how to secure a girlfriend. We survey his online dating profiles, drill him with questions, make recommendations, and listen to his many stories of dating woes. In 2015, Kelley and Kelly created Mario’s online dating profile at Heather and Jan’s Halloween party which shortly lead to him securing a date with the lovely Kate, who is now his wife and wholeheartedly supports his fanaticism for tennis. Kate joined the team in Mobile at Nationals.


Our recent championship run would not have been possible without the leadership and hard work throughout these years by our captain Anne, who bore witness and has partaken in the fun that comes along with all of this matchmaking on and off the court. Without her, we would not have made it to Mobile for yet another incredibly memorable tennis trip.

Top Moments of 2017

Each new year is full of new possibilities on the court: A child picking up a racquet for the first time. A first-time Regional champion. A first trip to the US Open. In both the Mid-Atlantic and the entire tennis world, 2017 was full of so many unforgettable moments big and small. So before we move on to a new year of new opportunities, we chose some of our favorite tennis memories of the past year, in no particular order.

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Who could forget the first Grand Slam final of the year? A throwback showdown between the Williams sisters in Melbourne! Despite Venus’ best efforts, Serena came out on top 6-4, 6-4 to take home the trophy. But only months later did we find out that Serena was eight weeks pregnant when she won the Australian Open, an incredible way to earn her 23rd Grand Slam…and Baby Alexis’ first. 

RogerandRafa Laver cup

 2017 certainly saw the resurgence of the Federer-Nadal rivalry and friendship. First, at the Australian Open Final on opposite sides of the court when Roger prevailed in their first meeting at a major final since 2011. Then, in a move that tennis fans had certainly dreamed about for years, the duo teamed up for some Doubles at the Laver Cup. Who thinks we’ll see Federer-Nadal #39 at a Grand Slam in 2018?

Intersectional 16s Champs

In July, Mid-Atlantic’s Intersectionals 16s team went from unseeded to unstoppable and were crowned National Champs! These kids took down top players from other USTA Sections and showed great sportsmanship and enthusiasm along the way. It was certainly a moment they’ll remember for years to come!

Sophie Chang

We’re heading to the Citi Open for our next top moment of 2017, which is where Mid-Atlantic’s own Sophie Chang got her first WTA-level victory! The 20-year-old Havre de Grace, MD native took advantage of entry in her hometown tournament by winning her first match and has kept the success rolling through the rest of the year. Sophie’s currently ranked a career high #305 in the world in Singles and #185 in Doubles!

Award Photos

We loved seeing THREE Mid-Atlantic adult league teams be crowned National Champions this year! Congrats to the 55 & Over 8.0 Men from Virginia Beach, the Mixed 18 & Over 10.0 team from DC, and the Mixed 40 & Over 8.0 team from Montgomery County. Who wants to be celebrating a 2018 national championship with their team?

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Tyler, from the Metropolitan Tennis and Education Group, had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be the honorary coin flipper before a match during the Citi Open. Standing between Lauren Davis and Aryana Sabalenka, Tyler did a great job representing the Net Generation and future of tennis in America.

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Bringing the Fed Cup back to the US for the first time since 2000 was more than enough to be one of our favorite moments in 2017! These women defeated teams from countries across the world and came out as champions.

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We couldn’t stop watching Mid-Atlantic’s own Frances Tiafoe continue to grow as a player and achieving new firsts. In 2017, Frances won his first Grand Slam match, got his first Top 10 win over Alexander Zverev and pushed Roger Federer to 5 sets in Arthur Ashe Stadium. We can’t wait to see what’s in store in 2018!

Our final favorite moment of 2017 was basically just the entire last few days of the US Open on the Women’s side. From FOUR Americans in the semifinals to Sloane Stephens winning it all in her comeback year to the “hug heard ’round the world” after the Final, we won’t forget what happened in Flushing Meadows for a long, long time.

Happy Holidays from USTA Mid-Atlantic

USTA Mid-Atlantic sends our warmest wishes for a joyous and fun holiday season and we hope that 2018 comes in bouncing in your favor!

 

8 Things about Summer Only Tennis Players Will Understand

The sun shining, birds chirping, children playing…there are plenty of reasons summer is (arguably) the most fun season. Tennis players know summer comes with its own set of challenges, though, especially when you’re spending all day at the courts. Here’s our list of things about summer that only tennis players can relate to:

  1. It’s at least 10 degrees hotter on any court. You’ve even wondered if you could fry an egg on a hard court. Spoiler alert: you probably can.

2. Flip flops look a little odd on your sock-tanned feet, while cute sandals are nearly impossible to pull off.

3. The summertime really has you regretting not finishing that glass of water three days ago.

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4. Tennis may as well be a water sport in the summer with how much you sweat.

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5. It may look a little “extra” when you bring a full rolling cooler to the court, but you know that you need it. Plus it’s a great place to sit during changeovers.

6. Sometimes the rain is your best friend, sometimes it’s your worst enemy. All you know is you wish you could play in it.

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7. One hour on the court in the summertime feels like four any other time of the year.snail clock.blogpost

 

8. Despite the heat and the sweating, there’s really no better place spend all day than on a tennis court.IMG_6059


 Charlotte Rhoad is a summer intern at USTA Mid-Atlantic. She also wrote a blog post titled “8 things about summer only USTA Mid-Atlantic interns will understand” but figured the audience is a little small for that one.

USTA MAS Gets Exclusive Scoop on Changes to Wimbledon Courts

USTA Mid-Atlantic scored an exclusive interview with a grounds crew source from the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC)  and learned the iconic Wimbledon Championships will usher in a new era of grass court tennis – an era of artificial and edible turf.

According to the source close to USTA Mid-Atlantic, AELTC will work with TurfAstro, a leading manufacturer, distributor and installer of top quality artificial grass products. TurfAstro will be the featured playing surface at the 2017 Championships.

“Unlike the other grand slams, where day one playing surface to day 14 is the same, players here have to battle between the play on the other side of the net and the court,” said an unnamed Wimbledon grounds crew insider in an interview with USTA MAS. “Wimbledon has many storied traditions, but we’re prepared to cut this one.”

The challenges of maintaining the pristine grass courts at the All England Club are abound. Already at the whim of Mother Nature, the grounds crew has to contend with the ugly baseline style of play that dominates the modern game, destroying the back of the court.

Serve-and-volley tennis is essentially dead. Top players such as Roger Federer and Serena Williams have the serve-and-volley in their repertoire, but a true serve-and-volleyer has not won Wimbledon in this century. Gone are the beautiful glory days of serve-and-volley tennis when Marina Martina, Boris Becker, and Stefan Edberg reigned at Wimbledon.

“The courts will look much better during broadcast without the players wearing out the baseline, creating patches of hard, brown dirt as the tournament progresses,” says another Wimbledon insider. “Plus they’ll be able to have a snack right on the court should long matches ensue.”

Instead of a traditional crumb rubber infill, TurfAstro also incorporates ABSORBS, a new product made of organic material and safe for athletes to eat. ABSORBS ability to retain water also helps reduce the slipperiness and delivers an exceptional playing surface designed for high use.

USTA Mid-Atlantic has obtained several samples of ABSORBS that will be made available for players to taste test at various JTT and Adult League Championships throughout the summer of 2017.

Roland Garros did not respond to requests for comment when asked if they will be switching to synthetic clay for 2018.

APRIL FOOLS! USTA Mid-Atlantic hopes you enjoyed our attempt at satire! We have in no way heard of any surface changes at Wimbledon. What do you think edible turf would taste like anyway? Strawberries and Cream maybe?