Asian Pacific American Heritage Month is celebrated in May to commemorate the contributions of people of Asian and Pacific Islander descent in the United States. Congress passed a joint Congressional Resolution in 1978 to commemorate Asian American Heritage Week during the first week of May. In 1992, Congress expanded the observance to a month long celebration.
We at USTA Northern California are proud to lead the tennis community in honoring fine Asian American and Pacific Islander coaches, players, parents, volunteers and facilities who bring tremendous value, insight and richness to the USTA family and the sport of tennis.
In an age where teenagers are hanging out in the mall or concerned with the latest fashion, Jenny Chen is on the tennis court working up a sweat. This hard working young lady is an inspiration and a role model for anyone looking to learn how to balance school and sports. She has competed in USTA tournaments for over 5 years and plays on the tennis team at the Harker School in San Jose. She has made her family proud and impressed all who know her.
How did you get started in tennis and why?
I started tennis when I was seven years old; for my birthday I received a tennis racquet and a private lesson at our club. My parents already played tennis as a hobby and wanted to get me into the sport as well. They chose tennis because they liked how it is a lifetime sport.
How do you envision the future of tennis, in particular to the participation of Asian Americans?
In the past there have not been many professional Asian American players, but the USTA, especially in NorCal, has yielded quite a few good ones recently. I expect to see more and more professional Asian Americans in the near future.
What does it mean to you to be Asian American?
For me, it means having high expectations especially in academics and music, on top of tennis.
What are you most proud of in your tennis career?
I won the Courtside and Fremont Championships back-to-back last fall and that brought my ranking up to #8 in NorCal for the Girls 14s division.
What advice would you give to up-and-coming, future Asian American tennis players?
The advice I would give would be that although academics is a very high priority, extracurricular activities like tennis are also very important because they provide you with a healthy and well-rounded lifestyle. Another piece of advice: join the USTA! There you can meet new people and find hitting partners at your level. Also, if your school has a tennis team, join it! It will be one of the best times of your life! This past fall, I participated on my high school’s varsity tennis team and I had a blast. Playing tennis on a team is still mainly an individual sport, but you will get the team spirit, camaraderie, and bonding from it.
What does the future hold for you?
I will continue playing USTA tournaments and participating on my high school team in the upcoming years. I definitely will keep up the sport for the rest of my life because it is by all means a great way to get exercise and stay fit while having fun!
Thomas "Tommy" Ho (born June 17, 1973, in Winter Haven, Florida) is a former professional tennis player from the United States.
Ho first came to the tennis world's attention as an exceptionally successful junior player. He won several junior tennis events in the 1980s, and set a number of 'youngest-ever' records. At 15 years old, Ho was the youngest men’s player ever to compete at the US Open. During his professional career, Ho reached career-high rankings of World No. 85 in singles and No. 13 in doubles, and won four doubles titles.
In August 1988, Ho became the youngest-ever male player to play in the main draw of the US Open at the age of 15 years and 2 months. That same month, Ho became the second youngest male player to win a main draw match at a top-level tour event when he beat Matt Anger in the first round at Rye Brook. A heralded junior player, Ho was named Junior Tennis Player of the Year by both World Tennis magazine (1988) and Tennis magazine (1985 and 1987).
He reached the singles third round at the US Open in 1992, and in doubles reached the semifinals at Roland Garros in 1995.
Ho's early successes drew many comparisons with Michael Chang, another Asian American tennis player who achieved great success as a junior. However Ho did not manage to make the same kind of impact on the professional circuit as Chang (who went on to win the French Open and reach the World No. 2 singles ranking). Ho enjoyed some success in satellite tournaments, but did not win any top-level singles events on the tour. He did, however, win four tour doubles titles (Beijing in 1994, and Beijing, Hong Kong and Indian Wells in 1995). His career prize-money totaled US$793,819.
After a nine-year career, he was forced to retire due to chronic back injuries in 1997. It began in 1995 when Ho and Brett Steven became the fastest-ever losers of a match at Wimbledon. In the very first point of their men's doubles match, Steven served and Ho tried to intercept the return at the net, only to injure his back. The pair thus had had to forfeit the match after just one rally, which had lasted all of five seconds. The back injury was to recur again in future years and eventually led to Ho's retirement from the tour in 1997.
After retiring from the tour, Ho completed a degree in Economics in 2001 at Rice University in Houston where he was Phi Beta Kappa and served as a volunteer assistant with the tennis team and worked as a tennis journalist. He worked as a financial analyst at Goldman Sachs and a financial advisor at UBS Wealth Management before taking his current position in April 2006 as a Senior Associate at Korn/Ferry International, a professional services company specializing in executive recruitment and talent management.
Tommy Ho began serving a two-year term as a Director at Large on the USTA Board of Directors in January 2009. One of three elite athletes on the Board of Directors, Ho is Board Liaison to the Player Development Council and is a member of the Audit Committee.
Ho lives in Houston, Texas, and is a member of the USTA Texas Section.