Tennis Ace of the Month – Emma Leibowicz
Where were you born and raised?
I was born in New Haven Connecticut and moved to Pittsburgh when I was three.
If you aren’t from Pittsburgh or the surrounding areas, what brought you to Pittsburgh, PA?
How long have you been associated with the Highland Park Tennis Club? In what capacities?
I have been helping with the free clinics since 2014 and promote Highland Park tennis courts to every tennis player I meet.
At what age, where and with whom did you first begin playing tennis?
I was 5 years old when I started playing tennis. I played with my dad at the Hobart park tennis court in Squirrel Hill.
Did you play for any school teams? If so, what teams, when and at what schools?
I played for Taylor Allderdice high school and Binghamton University.
What level tennis player are you now? What was your highest ranking?
I don’t remember my highest ranking, but I am probably a 5.0 player now, but a little rusty with match play.
Do you play in tournaments now? If so, why? If not, why not?
I like to play in the local Pittsburgh summer tournaments at Highland Park and Frick Clay courts. These tournaments are great for the city because they attract people who are from outside the city limits to come and play.
Do you prefer singles, doubles and or mixed play? Why?
I like to play all 3 because each brings out a different feeling and experience, but at the same time help me improve different areas of my game.
Name two of your favorite tennis players and tell why they are your favorites.
Rafael Nadal because I love his never give up attitude during every match, and he is also not bad to look at. Serena and Venus Williams because they have a lot of fight in them and have changed the style of women’s tennis.
If you could ask each of them a question, what would the questions be?
For Nadal it might be, “would you marry me?” No, but I would ask him how he is able to bounce back from all of the injuries and still have that hunger to play. I would ask Serena and Venus about their ability to dominate for so long in the game and how they mentally became so dominant.
What is it about the game that you like? Why?
I love that you can play with anyone on the tennis court no matter the level. It is a global sport that you can play anywhere, and finally, you can play tennis for your whole life.
Is there anything about the game that you don’t like and if so, what is it and why?
No, I love the game and the competitiveness it brings out in people.
If you could change one thing about tennis, what would it be?
Longer warm ups in tournaments.
What do you consider the strongest aspect of your tennis game? Why?
I consider the strongest aspect of my game is that I do not give up easily and love the competition. Another strong aspect in my game is my doubles play.
What part of your tennis game would you most like to improve? Why?
My backhand I am working on improving because a lot of my balls I hit off the backhand side land short, I need to readjust how I set up when I am hitting my backhand so I can swing through.
Do you have a personal tennis match that stands out in your mind? Please share the circumstances of that match with us.
It was a junior match and I was playing my “rival” who I had never beaten after so many matches, I finally took a match from her. It was one of the best feelings I felt on the court because I worked hard to get that match.
Aside from tennis, in what other athletic activities do you participate?
I played co-ed soccer when I first came back from college. I used to play basketball and soccer when I was younger. I enjoy going to my gym Pittsburgh FIT.
What are your career aspirations?
I am officially a certified occupational therapist! Eventually, I want to own my own occupational therapy business.
We understand that you coach others in tennis. Why?
I love coaching because I get to meet so many wonderful different people. I love watching my clients’ game improve and see their confidence grow. Also, I enjoy making a positive impact on someone’s life.
What are your most recent accomplishments?
My most recent accomplishment is passing my boards exam to become a registered occupational therapist.
What is your favorite type of music?
I’ve been on a Hamilton kick for the last couple of months. Love it and would love to see it on Broadway. Other than that, I don’t really have a favorite type of music.
Name your favorite musical artist/group?
I really like to listen to Adele, her voice is just amazing.
What is your favorite food?
Any type of pasta! And pretty much anything sweet.
What can always be found in your refrigerator?
Fruit and avocados.
What is your favorite vacation spot?
Too many to name but I would say Israel and Italy.
If there is anything that you would change about the world in which we live today, what would it be?
I won’t get political, so I would love to see world peace and people working to help one another instead of speaking in terms of hate.
What would most others be surprised to know about you?
I’m a big hockey fan, let’s go Pens!
Is there anything you would like to add?
When you are out on the court have fun and enjoy playing!