Wishing You all the Joy the Holidays Bring (VIDEO)

We hope that this year has brought joyous memories of fun tennis played and friendships made.  Of laughter, and aces and serves for the ages! Of taking your game to the next level, and matches and points with which you can revel. Through tennis we hope that you’ve fueled a passion, and taken your tennis goals and proceeded to smash ’em. We hope you’ve enjoyed staying active and fit, and building new skills that work great on the court and even off of it.

It’s our pleasure serving up the game of tennis for all of you in the Mid-Atlantic Section. Wishing you a Happy Holiday and a joyful New Year –  from your friends at USTA Mid-Atlantic!

Fun DIY Halloween Decorations – Tennis Themed

One thing tennis lovers know is that there is always a creative way to reuse dead tennis balls.  With Halloween season upon us, we’ve put together three spooktacular DIY Halloween decorations you can do with those scary dead tennis balls lurking in your basement, garage, trunk or bag.

We found these DIY craft projects are great activities to do with kids or grand kids or even during a Halloween party as an activity station.

Tennis coaches and tennis clubs, you can incorporate these craft projects into a Halloween-themed tennis lesson or tennis tournament for kids too.

So let’s raise the dead (ahem tennis balls that is) and have some Halloween fun making these awesome tennis inspired DIY Halloween tennis ball decorations.

DIY Halloween Tennis Ball Craft 


What you need: 1

1 can of tennis balls
4 googly eyes
Orange, green and black markers
3-4 pipe cleaners
1 piece of colored paper
Bottle tops (Gatorade or milk container tops recommended)


Start by making the base for the three Tennis Ball Halloween figures by gluing a bottle top to the bottom of each tennis ball.

Grab your markers and color 1 ball green, 1 ball orange and 1 ball black.



Let’s make a Tennis Ball Witch!

Step 1: Grab the green tennis ball on base; the top to the tennis ball can, glue, paper, scissors, 2 eyes, green marker and a pipe cleaner.


Step 2: Take your paper and cut out a half moon shape. 6

Step 3: Roll the half-moon shape to form a cone.


Tip – Stapling the corners together will secure it quickly

Step 4: Glue the cone to the top of the tennis ball can – you made a witch’s hat!


Step 5: Glue the witch’s hat to the tennis ball.


Tip – Tilt the hat a little off to the side so that your eyes fit later

Step 6: Take a pipe cleaner and cut it in half. Take half of the pipe cleaner and fold it over two times, twist together to keep secure – you made a witch’s nose! Glue the nose to the tennis ball.

Step 7: Glue 2 googly eyes to the tennis ball – good job! You’re tennis ball witch is complete!


Let’s make a Tennis Ball Pumpkin!

Step 1: Grab the orange tennis ball on base; the other half of the pipe cleaner you just cut for the witch’s nose, glue, and the black marker.


Step 2: Take the pipe cleaner and fold it in half two times, twist together to keep secure and glue onto the top of your tennis ball.

Step 3: Take the black marker and draw on your pumpkin face. Whew! That was a quick one – you made a tennis ball pumpkin!


Let’s make a Tennis Ball Bat!

Step 1: Grab the black tennis ball, 2 pipe cleaners, glue, and 2 googly eyes.


Step 2: Glue on your two googly eyes to the front of the tennis ball.


Step 3: Take a pipe cleaner and twist it closed at the end to make a loop. Do this to both pipe cleaners.


Step 4: Create indentations in the bottom of the pipe cleaner to form the bat wings. Do this to both pipe cleaners. You made bat wings!


Step 5: Glue the bat wings to the left and right side of your tennis ball. YAY! A tennis ball bat!


Step 6: Bonus step if you have any extra pieces of pipe cleaners. Cut two 1” pieces of pip cleaner and bend to form a triangle. Add these two “bat ears” to the top of your tennis ball.


Enjoy your tennis ball witch, pumpkin and bat to decorate your house for this haunting holiday – Happy Halloween!

Shell Wood is the Events Manager for USTA Mid-Atlantic. She enjoys crafting and repurposing items to bring a little pizzazz to our events.

Why You Need a Weekend Getaway with your Tennis Team

One of the best parts of playing USTA League tennis in the Mid-Atlantic is the friends that you make. These are people that rally for you and cheer you on both on the court and throughout the ups and downs that life throws your way. For many, their tennis team is like family with a bond that has been built from grinding it out during tough tennis matches and from the memorable times spent off the court. Those are the special times together thanks to your love of tennis such as traveling to tournaments, championships or even National events. 

But not every team gets the chance to travel to a Regional or Section championship. That’s why USTA Mid-Atlantic partnered with the Roanoke Valley Tennis Association to create Second Serve to give more teams, especially women’s teams,  the chance to hit the road for fun on court competition against teams from all over the Mid-Atlantic and off court laughs. 

We chatted with Yoshie Nahmens, a current 4.0 who has been playing USTA Leagues for more than ten years, to get her take on the fun of traveling with your tennis team. Yoshie is an active captain in Fairfax, Virginia having captained more than ten teams in the last three years and plays on a variety of others leagues in Northern Virginia.

Girls Getaway - Yoshie Photo 1_350x250What has been your favorite girls’ weekend tennis memory?

This is a tough one since I have had several fun memories that picking just one is a challenge. I would probably say my 3.0/3.5/4.0 team’s win at the 2017 Tri-Level League Sectionals since we were not able to compete to defend our title last year. We were #1 in the local league but lost in the first round of local league playoffs. All matches were very tight and nail biters, so this win was extra sweet and special.

We’ve created so many great friendships off the court through our teams over the years that we’ve created our own weekend getaways. Eleven of us participated in a Wintergreen tennis camp a few years ago. We rented a huge house, cooked all our meals together (it was a cold, rainy & foggy April weekend, so we couldn’t go anywhere), danced, talked and crashed. It was my first ‘tennis camp’ and I loved it. I hope a group of us can go to another tennis camp in the near future. It was so much fun!

How has travelling for tennis been a bonding experience for the ladies on your teams?

We drive 3 hours+ to get to most Region and Section Championships so we usually carpool. Our team also shares hotel room to split the cost and spend more time together.  During travel and stay, we talk about family, kids, vacation, etc. So much quality bonding time – it has been great.

What’s your team’s favorite thing to do off the tennis court when you’re travelling together?Girls Getaway - Series 1 - Photo 2_sized

I normally set up our team dinner on one of the nights when we travel to Regionals and/or Sectionals. Many of our team knows each other pretty well, but it is always fun to get together over great food and great wine (typically) and enjoy lots of laughs. Girls can be girls. It’s the most relaxed moment before the battle on the court.

Team-bonding, beautiful hikes, tasty breweries, late-night laughs, sing-along car rides and heck, maybe even that perfect, “down-the-T” serve will show up on your weekend in the Roanoke Valley at Second Serve, so gather up your tennis girls and let us know you are interested in playing in the inaugural event!  

USTA Mid-Atlantic and the Roanoke Valley Tennis Association are introducing Second Serve, a highly social team competition that has the look of a league championship with teams from all over the Mid-Atlantic competing, but in a fun, low-pressure environment. Second Serve will take place in Roanoke, Va. Teams from the Adult 18 & Over women’s leagues at 3.0, 3.5 and 4.0 NTRP levels are eligible to participate in Second Serve. Play will count toward your NTRP rating, but there is no advancement.  Click here to learn more about the event! 

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

Heather Carr and Jan Neumann.jpeg

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


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


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.


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?


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.


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.


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.