QUEENS, N.Y. Jamie Loeb has been playing tennis since age 3. On Monday, she added another honor to her already successful career.
The 18-year-old was one of more than a dozen junior tennis players recognized by the United States Tennis Association Eastern Section at a Junior Awards Gala at the Hospitality Pavilion of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Loeb earned the award for finishing near the top of section tournaments in the first half of the year.
Mondays awards ceremony at the site of the US Open was a familiar event for Loeb.
Im excited to get this award. Ive been getting it every year for a while, Loeb said. Its a great accomplishment. Being a part of East is also a great feeling and knowing that Im representing the east is also a great accomplishment.
Loebs brothers and sisters got her into tennis at a young age by taking her to the backyard and playing with her on a pingpong table. She fell in love with the sport after that and played in her first tournament at 8 years old.
The Ossining native won her first womens professional tournament, the Sargent & Collins LLP Womens $10,000 Championships, on July 1 and cited that as the greatest accomplishment of her career.
It gave me great confidence going into the summer and its something that not many people can say theyve done, so Im really proud of that, Loeb said.
The mornings festivities featured a speech from tennis analyst and former player Justin Gimelstob and words from various USTA Eastern officials. Julie Bliss, director of competition and player development for USTA Eastern, said the gala gave her a chance to see the faces of the players with whom she works throughout the year.
What I love about it is that I work with these kids all year. I work with their parents. I help them through the pathway. I assist them. They have questions, Bliss said. Its so nice to be able to interact with them face-to-face, because so much of it is from a desk.
Loeb also received a wild card into the main draw of the 2012 Jr. US Open. She lost in the first round of qualifying last year but she enters this years event with a new level of confidence.
Im really excited. This year to get another chance at main draw of juniors is just a great feeling, Loeb said. Hopefully I can do better and prove why I deserved a wild card.
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