When Emily Fraser took over as the Director of Tennis at Alpha Tennis and Fitness in Pittsburgh, she wanted her emphasis to be on youth and player development – which is nothing new for her.
“I started training as a junior tennis player when I lived in the suburbs of New York City,” Fraser said. “My trainer helped really develop me when I was in high school and prepared me for college.”
Fraser went on to play in one of the prestigious college tennis programs in the country at the University of Virginia where she was one of the top ranked singles and doubles players in the country. From there, she coached at the University of Pittsburgh for two years before getting the job at Alpha Tennis and Fitness.
“Our emphasis at Alpha is on player development at all ages,” Fraser said. “But it’s exciting to meet a kid at 5 or 6 years old and then see their progression as a player and a person. Tennis is such a great sport in terms of making tough choices and learning life lessons. It’s a great sport to learn at a young age because it’s an individual sport that puts you in a lot of positions that you won’t get to experience anywhere else.”
Through Fraser’s passion for tennis, more and more kids in the Pittsburgh area are going to get that experience, with the support of USTA Middle States and its grants program.
Fraser reached out to the local tennis service representative, Kelle Cunningham, to express an interest in developing the youth programming.
“We were able to host a youth tennis workshop to train the staff how to work with kids,” Fraser said. “I had to order all new equipment to implement the USTA programming, so Kelle set me up with the grant for equipment.”
Not even a year into the job, Fraser has already revitalized tennis in the community, and she’s not even close to being done.
“I would love to eventually be a USTA training center and even become the premier tennis club in Pittsburgh,” Fraser said. “Pittsburghers are very passionate about their sports. It’s just the nature of the city. It’s a very blue collar city of down to earth and hard working people.”