Wheelchair tennis champion of the year: Nick Taylor
In addition to his singles bronze and three doubles gold medals in the Paralympic Games, Nick Taylor has achieved a lengthy list of national and international highlights. But, he’s also active locally, in his hometown of Wichita, Kan.
Taylor is in his fourth season as a volunteer assistant coach for the Shocker men’s tennis program at Wichita State University, where he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degree in sports management. According to Dan James, the USTA’s national manager of wheelchair tennis, able-bodied college players are fortunate to learn from one of the best tennis minds and match players in the sport.
For his combination of tennis achievement and dedication to giving back, Taylor is TI’s Wheelchair Tennis Champion of the Year.
Despite severe limitations from a rare congenital disease, Taylor’s competitive drive spurred him to learn at age 13 to begin his service motion by tossing the ball with his foot. He made the high school tennis team, then set his aspirations higher.
Taylor competes in the quad division and is consistently the most disabled player on court. “As a result,” he notes, “I have to be smarter.” It is this mentality that Taylor instills as a coach, in addition to his love of the game, drive to improve and intensely competitive nature. — Cindy Cantrell
Tips for Success
- Learn however you can. At Wichita State in 1995, Taylor arranged his class schedule so he could study the men’s tennis team practices.
- Practice with a purpose. Taylor still hits against the wall, but he does so with specific targets and goals.
- Never, never give up. In motivational speeches, Taylor describes his journey from hitting a tennis ball against a garage door 5 feet away, to winning three gold medals in the Paralympics. “What is your garage door,” he asks, “and what is your gold medal?”
See all articles by Cynthia Cantrell
About the Author
Cynthia Cantrell is a contributing editor of Tennis Industry magazine.
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