Casey Thampoe’s first season on a USTA League Tennis team was unforgettable – but not necessarily in the way he planned.
“All season, I don’t think our team won a single set,” he said. “It was clear we had a lot of work to do.”
Oh, how things change.
Nearly a decade later, Thampoe has become a staple in the USTA League Tennis community as a captain and promoter of tennis. He and his teams have also built quite the resume over the years, as Thampoe has advanced to National Championships an astounding 10 times.
“I’ve been really lucky to be so successful,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of fun.”
Thampoe’s journey to tennis is as unique as they come. He moved from Sri Lanka to New York as a teenager, and when it came time to apply for colleges, he didn’t have the money needed for tuition. Then, all of a sudden, things fell into place.
Through a contact, Thampoe earned the chance for a scholarship to Fordham based on his willingness to work with the squash and tennis teams as an organizer and manager. He graduated from Fordham and never forgot about the opportunities tennis and squash provided him.
After playing tennis casually after graduation, Thampoe discovered USTA League Tennis on a random afternoon in 2008, when he was playing in a New Jersey public park. After his first few seasons, he decided to make the jump to team captain, and right away, he was hooked.
After captaining for several years, he said he still learns every day and is discovering better ways to manage teams and compete. His players call him a tremendous organizer, a leader and a good friend.
“League tennis has become a good way to relieve some work stress,” said Thampoe, an attorney for Merck, a major pharmaceutical company based in New Jersey. “I like that you get to meet a lot of good people, and that it’s such a friendly environment. It’s friendly competition.”
Thampoe, who is captaining six teams in 2016 between the levels of 3.0 and 4.0, said he’s excited about staying involved with tennis for years to come. He’s played on teams in the USTA Eastern and Middle States sections for the last several years, and doesn’t plan on giving them up. And after 10 trips to National Championships, he’s hoping his luck doesn’t run out any time soon.