Local community helps make young tennis player’s dream a reality

"There are so many people supporting me, and I'm so appreciative of that." - Oziera Ahmad

HAMPTON, NH - Oziera Ahmad’s tennis dream is quickly becoming a reality and it’s thanks to a village of her supporters. The daughter of a Malaysian immigrant, Ahmad, 16, whose goal is to play Division I NCAA tennis, took a major step closer to achieving that dream last November when she moved down to North Carolina to train full time.

Ahmad grew up in Hampton, NH where her father Oziee first handed her a racquet at four years old. After nearly 10 years of personally training her, he handed the reigns over to renowned New England coaches, Phil Parrish and Laury Hammel, following her 2019 Junior Sectionals victory.

Oziera also enrolled in the New Hampshire-based NJTL chapter, Advantage Kids. The organization created an ambassador program and an excellence program for her and sponsored some of her travel and tournament costs. She volunteered her time by mentoring younger players in the program and creating social media training videos for them to watch at home while in quarantine.

In October, Advantage Kids, in collaboration with a number of organizations including USTA New England, USTA New Hampshire and the USTA Foundation, offered Oziera the opportunity of a lifetime. They partnered with a tennis academy, in Greensboro, NC, which also serves as an NJTL, to house and teach Oziera full time.

"At first I thought to myself, 'do I actually want to do this? Would it be beneficial for me?' As first thought it probably would not and I wouldn’t be able to handle it myself, but then I thought about it and realized what a great opportunity it could be. So far, I love the program and it's a great community good community for me," Oziera said.

She initially planned to stay for a year, but could continue to train beyond that if the pieces fall into place.

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