OSSINING, N.Y. Jamie Loeb, a 17-year-old rising tennis star from Ossining, has received a wild-card berth into the prestigious Junior U.S. Open tennis tournament, where she will play for the second year at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, Queens, Sept. 3-9.
My mentality last year going into the Open is different than this year, said Loeb, who earned a wild card in the qualifying round last summer. I am more experienced with playing higher-level matches and competing on bigger stages compared to last year. Last year I was pretty nervous and inexperienced, so hopefully I will do some damage this year.
This years Open wild-card bid puts Loeb in the main draw, where she hopes to build on the experiences she has had through the past several months, when she earned her first two professional victories, doubling as a singles and doubles champion at the Sargent & Collins LLP Womens $10,000 Championship in Buffalo in July.
Loeb loves tennis so much that she is willing to work long hours and sacrifice some of her teen time to be a better player, and her 12-plus years of dedication to the game have resulted in a mature approach to her work.
I've been playing tennis since I was 4 years old and started competing in tournaments when I was 8, Loeb said. If you love the sport, there are sacrifices you must make in order to achieve your goals. Also, having a great work ethic like mine is an important component if you want to be a top player. If you aren't motivated or passionate about the game, going through the motions during practice won't cut it.
Although the National Tennis Center will be in the world tennis spotlight for the first two weeks of the U.S. Open beginning Aug. 27 Loeb is attacking her junior tennis challenge as she has done with other important tournaments.
Personally, I treat every match the same and take each match one by one, Loeb said. I will keep the same mentality for the Junior U.S. Open, since I can't take any match for granted.
Home-schooled and building her tennis game at the John McEnroe Tennis Academy on Randall's Island in New York during the week, Loeb depends on family support to help keep her grounded and growing.
Having a great support system is another huge factor, she said. Without my family (parents Jerry and Susan), I wouldn't be where I am now. They are such great supporters, and I can always go to them for advice. My mom always travels with me, and my brother Jason comes to a bunch of my tournaments and will be my coach and watch my matches.
Loebs next stop on the road to tennis success is the Junior U.S. Open, where she looks to continue building her career point by point, game by game, set by set and match by match.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.