NTC News

At this time, individuals are not required to show proof of a negative COVID test or vaccination to enter the Chase Center at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Additionally, face masks are no longer required, but face masks may still be worn based on personal preference. Please note that government mandates and venue protocols are subject to change, so be sure to check back for the latest information. Revised 5/24/2023 


All players with court reservations and program registrants must fill out a WAIVER & RELEASE (W&R) prior to on-court play. Once completed, the W&R will be valid and held in the profile for 12 months from the date of completion. All players must present a government-issued photo ID upon arrival. 

Program participants, private lesson students, and open-time rentals:

A limited number of spectators and chaperones are permitted per family for junior program participants.  All players and students must complete a separate waiver daily for themselves and also present a government-issued picture ID to gain entry.

NTC Pro Staff Articles

"The Gift of Life"

By Coach Nouri El-Hajjar | 5/23/24

As a coach who spent over fifteen years on the court and taught over 15,000 children ages 4 to 8, I have

had the privilege of creating a big impact on their life. Being a coach for me was not just about teaching

children how to play, or how to win. But most importantly, it was to love and respect the game. Once

they love and respect tennis, it’s a matter of time before it becomes a gift that they want to keep.

In many cases, kids learn the basics in their backyards, whether it is playing catch with their dad or

kicking the ball back and forth with their mom. This fun family experience gets them excited about the

sport and helps them build teamwork. I play different sports myself and I was a very good soccer player.

After spending so many years teaching tennis, I found out why tennis is a gift for life for both children

and adults.

I have seen amazing things happen to so many children, such as developing engagement, productivity,

and diligence because they want to improve. Most importantly, they become so successful in their life

and in school, all because of the game of tennis. That’s the gift that I get to give as a coach, especially

when they keep sharing with me their success playing high school/college tennis or when they become

highly ranked players.

From R.O.G.Y juniors to high-performance players, parents want the best for their children. They want

them to be happy and healthy. They want them to learn skills that can help them become better people

in life. I have seen many kids who were struggling in the beginning, but the fact that they didn’t care

because they were having fun shows that it never bothers them.

It may take them a while to get it. But because of their patience, they improve their game. All of a

sudden, they become quick thinkers with split second reactions. The fact that they have to make their

own decisions in games or matches will allow them to grow. That’s the greatest gift that an athlete can

ask for.

Yes, there is a pathway that allows students to be able to move from one level to another. Within the

USTA, there are many tools which embrace all levels of junior players, including Net Generation, Play

Days, and Team Challenges. These offerings promote a healthy variety of welcoming competitions and

opportunities for players to be exposed to a variety of different playing styles and strategies, helping

them adapt to their opponents’ style of play. Here at the National Tennis Center, we welcome the

opportunity to share this welcoming gift of tennis in our Red, Orange, and Green Ball Programs.

Kids playing tournaments is not about winning trophies. It's a gift that they are able to play. They know

ahead of time that they are going to play match play at the club, or play with their level or in a

tournament at a different club. As competitors overcome their fears and improve their skills, they start

to develop more confidence. Given enough time, almost all participants will eventually experience

success in competition while also developing poise and overcoming their fear of performing in front of


Many studies have found that tennis makes you happier, healthier, and add over 9 years to your life. It’s

good for your bones and your balance as well, and it also makes you more agile with quicker reflexes.

Plus, the fact that you are making your own choices improves your mental health.

And all of these create a beautiful journey for children to bring passion and excitement into their daily

life so they can become very successful in their professional careers.

So give them the Gift of Life. Give them tennis.

"Stay in the Game"

By Coach Nouri El-Hajjar | 5/30/23

The number one reason children play youth sports is because they enjoy playing fun games. Parents and coaches should ask themselves “why should children be involved in youth sports and tennis in particular?” As a coach, who has been teaching youth for 16 years, I’ve watched so many talented young players grow and become very successful in life and other sports because of the game of tennis. I have been able to witness the joy of teaching and see why tennis is a beautiful sport for every generation!

 There are several reasons for parents to keep kids in tennis. Two major ones that stand out to me are:

1. Tennis is a non-contact sport:

 Most group sports such as football, soccer, and hockey are contact-based. Recently, collisions have gained a lot of attention for inflicting lifelong injuries. The only contact in tennis is with the ball, so kids be sure to keep your eye on it. Tennis has become a favorable option for parents who are looking for safe and healthy exercise for their children.

 While there is no physical contact in tennis, which is allowed with the kids being far from each other from the warm-up and throughout the practice and games, there is also safety first that is, being followed by coaches on hand during lessons, demonstrating strokes, or any activities. Therefore, there’s inherently less chance of acquiring any injury and even while shoelace trips and strains may occur, the likelihood is minimized with practice and patience.

2. Teaching agility and reaction:

When kids play tennis, their physical strength, flexibility, and balance improve, and as a result, they stay fit and healthy and that allows their body to get stronger. Split steps, quick lateral changes, and short sprints are all a part of the sport. The split step teaches directional changes and prepares kids for playing other sports such as basketball and soccer. The movement required to adjust to incoming balls is started on the Red Ball court with our “Get Ready to Catch” or “Strike Zone” exercises. Preparing your young ones with our “Hopping” exercise gets their lower body going. As a result, the development of muscular body strength is inevitable. Couple these with the strengthening of the cardiovascular system through tennis and you’re looking at nothing but HEALTHY ACES!!!!

Keeping kids playing tennis will maximize their potential to enjoy playing by enabling them to let go of negative emotions or thoughts. It will enable them to focus on the present moment rather than worrying about the result. Focusing on the present and imagining the future is the best way to work on positive decision-making.

So many of us did relay races, karate, soccer, basketball, softball, swim teams, baseball, and hockey. It is important to remember the best athletes play multiple sports from a very young age until they specialize. In addition, while all sports are good for child development, the individual playing aspects of tennis inspire passion and ownership. 

Parents always remember that tennis is the sport of a lifetime and builds champions. So let’s keep the kids in the game!

"Mental Toughness"

By Coach Justyna Wereszka | 5/16/23

Have you ever found yourself in a situation, after losing an easy point, where you start to worry: “What if I lose the next point and this game is over?” or: “What if I do break serve will have to play third set?”

This is Story Thinking and you don’t want to have this kind of mindset. As a player, you have to manage all distracting thoughts and be fully immersed in the moment. To avoid muddling your mind and predicting the future of your match, you should think Here and Now, This point, and This shot. This is Action Thinking. 

To become an Action Thinker, you need to train your mind with on and off-the-court activities. points

One of the great training methods is Visualization. Worrying about proper positioning, thinking about your shoulder turn, etc. is Story Thinking. Story Thinking can strike during a match before you hit a backhand, and fears about the technical aspect of your weaker shot start to take over. Instead, you should imagine that your shot will follow at the exact spot where it will hit the ground. Use it when you have time, for instance, before the serve. 

There are different ways to practice Visualization. Before starting a Visualization, plan what you want to visualize. Make it life-like, take a couple of deep breaths. You have many options on what to visualize: 1. Reviewing tennis techniques in your mind 2. Playing your game (or vision of your game) 3. Imagine situations that are tough and how to respond to them 4. Favorite vacation or other relaxing memory.

Choking can be an issue even on the professional level. Getting so close to the finish line seems to trigger fear and worries rushing through your head. Don’t worry, Action Thinking can help. Calm yourself by using Trigger Words, Rituals, and Breathing Techniques. Take examples from the best, like I did from Maria Sharapova. 

Trigger Words differ from player to player, but they have one common element: Motivation. Short words are better than long sentences because they set in motion automatic, unconscious processes. Between the points say it in a quiet and positive manner: “You can do it” or “Take it early” can help. After winning the point motivate yourself with “Come on!” or “Vamos!”

Rituals as long as they are not disruptive to your opponent, are very useful tools in Action Thinking. My ritual before serving is to bounce the ball three times. Maybe you already have your own but if not. Work on it during practice matches, so it will help you to concentrate, rest better during the changeover, and take your mind away from Story Thinking. 

Movement and Heartbeat will keep your body and mind in the game. Move your feet to prevent becoming lazy, both mentally and physically. Yoga stresses proper breath control. After the point is over do not rush. Instead, turn away from the court, take a couple of deep breaths through your nose, exhale loudly through your mouth, bounce around, and regroup. 

Recovery is also a very important aspect of Action Thinking. Don’t allow yourself to waste this time on regretting points or analyzing the previous game. Rest, towel, drink. Snack, relax your muscles, and stick to your plan. Between the points you have approximately 20 seconds, use them wisely! Make sure that your heartbeat is allowing you to start the next point under calm internal conditions. Put your racquet in the other hand to relax your dominant one and go to your “Safe place” on the court like Sharapova used to.

It is very difficult to control your Actions and Thinking without Controlling Your Eyes. Focus your eyes on something close, like your strings, and keep your gaze on the court, not on the fans or other potential distractions. 

Related to yeas control is Sound Control. Concentrate on the sound of your breath and the impact of the ball on the strings. Instead of being annoyed by outside noises, focus positively on inside sounds. Maybe you have a favorite song you can listen to before getting on the court? This Inner Music can help you keep you going through the match instead of drifting into Story Thinking.

All the tennis players have to step on the court with self-confidence and clear focus. Implementing Action Thinking will help you become a calmer and singularly focused player. A successful Action Thinker is fighting the opponent on the other side of the net, but also combating and controlling their fears, self-doubt, and weaknesses. 

Good luck practicing your Mental Toughness!