This month’s featured Athlete is Anthony! He was recently chosen to represent Special Pops Tennis at the 2023 Xperience Tennis Invitational Tournament in Charlottesville, Virginia. This is a singles competition only tournament hosted at the Boar’s Head Resort. Invitations are extended to the top 32 adaptive tennis players in the nation.

Anthony has been playing tennis since he was in 3rd grade. Although at one point, he felt very discouraged about his progress so he stopped playing. Once Anthony got to high school, he wanted to find an athletic activity to participate in so he picked up tennis racquet again. He came to know Special Pops Tennis through volunteers with Special Olympics Floor. Connections were made and, by 2016, Anthony was attending his first SPT training session at the Standard Club.

Anthony says his favorite part of SPT is the opportunity to make new friends and play good tennis matches. He spoke about the 2022 Fall Classic where he had the chance to play against great competition (Rachel-AR and Justin-MA). Although he lost, he still enjoyed a weekend of challenging tennis and learning lessons! Anthony had a hard time choosing one favorite SPT memory but two of his highlights were winning the Sportsmanship Award at the 2018 Fall Classic and playing some of his best tennis at the 2019 Virginia Tournament.

Outside of tennis, Anthony, loves hanging out with friends, playing other sports and working out. He just finished his first semester at Georgia Gwinnett College where he is working towards his bachelor’s degree in Special Education. In his first semester, Anthony earned three A’s and one B and is getting ready to start off another great semester. In the future, he wants to be a special education teacher or paraprofessional or work with Special Olympics Georgia. Lastly, if he could pick anyone in the world to play tennis with, he chose Rodger Federer because he seems like a nice guy and is a very consistent player.

Anthony’s father said his favorite part of SPT is seeing Anthony play tennis and being treated so well by everyone. He loves that SPT is one big supportive family. He was proud to mention that SPT has given Anthony the chance to travel to Florida, Virginia and many other places and wanted to be sure to thank everyone involved in providing these opportunities for Anthony to play tennis and make friends!

Jim Hamm, Special Pops Tennis Executive Director shared, “Anthony will always give his best effort whether on or off the tennis court, and even on the dance floor! His warm smile is appreciated and freely given to everyone he greets. He is a fierce competitor but is quick to congratulate his opponents. In loss, he can often be in conversation with coaches to explain what he learned from the defeat. He also enjoys teaching beginner Special Pops Tennis Athletes how to play. Put simply, Anthony is an awesome person.”