Liz Louis is a USTA Adult Leagues competitor and team captain, which means she's as vital on the court as she is on the sidelines. It's a busy job, but Louis takes it in stride. In fact, the role has taken her across the country, representing Southern California in national competitions. Last year, her team flew to Oklahoma for USTA Nationals. But generally, this is more of a "ride the van" kind of team.
We asked Liz about getting the most out of USTA Leagues and captaining a team of moms. In return, we learned why Leagues are so popular - turns out there's a lot of fun stirring up among these gals, both on the court and off.
Q: Everyone has that first moment when they grip the racquet and take a swing. What was your entry point into SoCal tennis?
In my late 30’s my neighbor asked me to take a beginner’s class at our local community center. Our first lesson was challenging and, at the same time, so much fun. I was determined to not only learn how to play, but play well.
Q: Many people do not realize that our Leagues are team-oriented. How does team tennis make the game more enjoyable?
Building a team with girlfriends, and girlfriends of girlfriends, is fun. Although we are all very competitive, we enjoy joking and laughing together. We have built a spirit of friendship and community. We get together on and off the courts and hang out like family.
My teammates and I are all moms. Although our families come first, self-care is also important. Tennis helps us stay sane and healthy. Traveling to Sectionals and Nationals is always a blast and something we strive for every year! I have a 9 passenger party bus…I mean van!… that we use to travel locally.
Q: What's the most bizarre thing a doubles partner has ever said to you during a match?
“I just peed my skirt”…. while (having) too many laughs on the court.
Q: It's one thing to be a player, but another to act as team captain. What's the best and worst part of being a team captain?
The worst part is when there is a difference of opinion on the courts. I always hope our opponent’s captain is friendly and rational.
Q: We've appointed you as captain of your dream team. Who's on your dream roster, and why?
Steffi Graf for her graceful personality on and off the court, Fabio Fognini for his charming good looks, and Serena Williams for her generous charitable endeavors.
Q: Back to that 9 passenger van – is it safe to say that “what happens in the van, stays in the van?”
That is absolutely safe to say!