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The secret to ‘nice shot’ tennis

Ashby Ponds tennis club a social and athletic affair

Created date

June 19th, 2012

While not every tennis player serves like Serena Williams or possesses a mean backhand like Andy Roddick, researchers at the Miller Family Heart and Vascular Institute at Cleveland Clinic maintain that regardless of skill level, tennis players enjoy the benefit of burning calories and reducing blood pressure and stress. But as the tennis players at Ashby Ponds, an Erickson Living community in Ashburn, Va., maintain, the number one benefit to the sport is simply having fun!

Open arms, friendly courts

The club, founded by community member Manny Hershkowitz in December 2008, is open to anyone interested in picking up a racquet. We welcome people of all skill levels, says tennis club co-chairperson Barbara McArdle. There is not one of us here who would laugh at anyone. We are all out improving our skills and having a good time. The trick is to try. We greet everyone with open arms. I hadn t played in at least 25 years, says Greg Harney. But I love coming out to the courts. Everyone is so supportive, and we have a great time. Twice a week, Mondays and Thursdays, the Ashby Ponds tennis club members carpool to nearby Woods Courts, in Ashburn. In the cold, winter months, the club uses the indoor courts in Ashburn Village. I ve been with the group since the beginning, says Peter Walker. As a group we don t recognize mistakes. Our goal is to get as many people as are interested out and playing tennis.

Friendly competition

Most days, the group plays doubles tennis, enabling more people to participate at one time. And just because the group is open to everyone doesn t mean there isn t some friendly competition for those looking for a challenge. With three courts available, the group often divides themselves by skill. Don Bowers, who has played tennis on and off his whole life, finds the mix of members to everyone s advantage. We are all learning and laughing with each other, he says. Those who can share a secret or two are as appreciated as those who are learning for the first time. The best part is that we are getting exercise and enjoying the fellowship of our neighbors. For those looking for more than just a good time, the Ashby Ponds tennis club participates in the annual Erickson Living tennis tournament at nearby sister community, Riderwood, in Silver Spring, Md. Last year our Ashby Ponds team won first place both in the men s doubles and mixed doubles, says co-chariman David Johnson. We took second place in the women s doubles. We were thrilled.

Watching the pros

In addition to hitting the courts, members of the tennis club attended the 2011 Washington Kastles Summer Tennis Tournament on the Wharf, in Washington, D.C. This was the first year for the tournament in the D.C. area. It showcased the unmatched skills of Serena and Venus Williams and Sam Querrey. We had a great time and many members of our club attended, David says. We definitely plan to go again this year. The trip was fun, Peter says. It s nice to see the pros play. In the meantime, the Ashby Ponds tennis club looks forward to a summer of fun with just the right mix of athleticism and socialization. Whenever anyone asks, I tell them that we play nice shot tennis, says McArdle. Because no matter how you hit the ball, it s a great shot as far as our group is concerned.