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Why the Clemson Club Tennis President Earned USTA Southern Tennis On Campus Leader of the Year

January 29, 2016 03:23 PM

Clemson may have finished second in the College Football Playoff this year, but the university has the best USTA Tennis On Campus leader in the South.

Jennifer Anderson, the Clemson Club Tennis Team president, was named "Tennis On Campus Leader of the Year" by USTA Southern at its annual meeting earlier this month in Atlanta.

 Anderson, second from the left, was named the Tennis On Campus Leader of the Year by USTA Southern earlier this month. Above, Anderson and her teammates smiled after winning the 2014 Tennis On Campus South Carolina Championship. (USTA SC photo)

Why did Anderson earn this prestigious honor? Let's let her teammate Reed Rabideau, answer that. Below is his nomination letter to USTA Southern.

The Clemson Club Tennis team owes much of its success in recent years to the monumental effort by Jennifer Anderson. Jennifer has been able to transform the club into a dual competitive and recreational team through an increase in participation, better showing at more events, and better practices.

The participation increase in Clemson’s club tennis is undoubtedly one of the largest accomplishments and a large majority of this success is owed to Jennifer Anderson. Jennifer’s never failing attendance and unwavering upbeat attitude at practice is noticed by all. This commitment, despite pursuing a master’s degree in engineering, has inspired others to show up to practice and has increased our regular numbers. During the 2014-15 school year, we would peak at around 20 per practice but this year, we are constantly at 30 and sometimes hitting 40 members per practice.

Although Jennifer’s impact on attendance has been monumental, perhaps even greater is her impact on the club’s improvement in the competitive side of Tennis On Campus. During Jennifer’s first year as president, 2014-15, the number of tournaments the team participated in increased dramatically. We went from playing 3 a year to 3-5 per semester. This hike in tournaments was due mostly to Jennifer’s drive to compete and also her incredible managerial skills. With this increase in competition it was only natural for our team to want to get better in order to succeed more; and we did. We grabbed 2nd at the Volunteer Classic, 1st in the South Carolina State Championships, 4th at the Southern Sections, and earned our first bid to Nationals in 8 years. Aside from the tournaments that we traveled to, we also hosted our first intraclub in recent memory in the form of the Tigertown Showdown and an interclub tournament during the past year as well as a head to head match against USC. This year, we are on pace for events, having already participated in 3 tournaments, and 1 head to head match. We also have an interclub tournament scheduled for later in the semester. This increase in event participation and opportunity is due solely to the efforts of Jennifer.

Although we had the talent to do well at the tournaments we traveled to, we didn’t begin to realize that potential until the practices, led by Jennifer, were improved upon to include more drills and match play. Historically, practices at Clemson Club Tennis were a hot mess of different level players playing games you wouldn’t find outside a low level junior tennis program. With the guidance of our president, we have been able to transform the practices into something that develops skill and enforces techniques. This year, we have tried a new strategy to have a focused practice of our travel players for one hour before the standard practice of everyone. At the travel practices, we routinely employ various drills and match situations to enforce and learn new strategies in order to improve those who want to become better tennis players. At the standard practices, we still play the games albeit in a more structured manner. There is rarely any standing around discussing the next game that should be played at these practices, increasing the enjoyment of all participants.

Jennifer Anderson has been an invaluable resource for Clemson Club Tennis. She has worked to increase attendance at practice, improve the competitiveness of the team, and also to restructure our practices into something productive. These significant changes and opportunities instituted by Jennifer have provided the members of club tennis to have the best Tennis On Campus experience, be it competitive or recreational, in the Southern Section.