The Berks Tennis Blog

Feature August Articles:

State Tennis Champion Andre Fick returns to the place where it all began...

This tennis court and I go way back... When I was growing up in my hometown, Pine Grove, PA, and by the time I first picked up a tennis racket, you would've found me hitting and training here for hours on end every day with my dad. It would always be rough: my dad was tough on me, I was critical of myself, and throughout it all, I felt totally isolated in a town where my sport wasn't at all accepted by my peers or the community. The barely visible white lines, the frayed net, the rusting net posts, and the cracked asphalt all look the same after well over a decade; like nothing had ever changed. I came here knowledgeable of how far I still have to go as well as appreciative and understanding of these humble beginnings.

At face value, these courts weren't the greatest, it wasn't the best situation for me, and I wasn't the happiest, but this court and the countless hours spent on it did instill in me to always have heart, to prove people wrong, to set the highest of expectations on myself, and to have the belief that those expectations can be reached as well as having the courage to pursue those dreams. It has taught me to always remember where I came from, to hold true to my core values, and to do things whole-heartedly, whether it be working hard in the classroom or on a tennis court, or even giving your best efforts towards others and seeing the good in them. For so long, I used to hate it here, but after finally coming back to this place, I've accepted that this old, worn down court has allowed me a to become an extremely strong-willed, compassionate, and independent man.

So to that, I have to say, thank you, Pine Grove...

- Andre J. Fick



- BCTA President Ryan Knarr writes of lessons learned from childhood hero Andy Roddick from Newport at his induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame -

What a day, what a moment. Growing up, every boy needs a hero. Anyone that knows me, knows that growing up, my hero was Andy Roddick. It is an absolute honor to be at the International Tennis Hall of Fame on this beautiful summer July afternoon to see Andy enshrined into the Hall of Fame and catch up with the guy that inspired to become the man I am today. There have been many people that have inspired me to become the person, player, coach, and ambassador of tennis that I am and will always be, but it was A-Rod that started my love affair with this game all those years ago as a young boy.

It was not just his big serve or even bigger personality on the court or off it, but rather the IT factor through an unparalleled work ethic that has taught me so much. He wasn't the biggest fastest, strongest or most talented guy out there, but he worked harder then anyone to get to the top and perfect his craft in a golden age of tennis. He always he wore his emotions on his sleeve and always played with more heart then any other guy out there. He showed me & many others in my generation that nothing is given, everything is earned, you work for what you have.. SWEAT EQUITY.

Through him I learned to bring unrivaled passion and enthusiasm every day on the court & off it. To appreciate and to be humble in victory and defeat & to never EVER give up. To always have the heart of a champion. To do what others said could not be done and to find a way no matter the circumstances, to always have persistence and that ANYTHING is possible if you put your heart and soul and a tireless work ethic into achieving your dreams. He is showing us all the power to change the world through tennis and through philanthropy and his Andy Roddick Foundation, and inspired me to find a way to give back at a young age and continue to do so with tennis as a platform through my Hits for Hope Tournament.

I would have never imagined all those years ago, sitting there as a young boy watching Andy Roddick win the US Open & learning to love the game the way I did because of him as my hero that all these years later, tennis would give me everything I hold dear and the opportunity to make an impact in this world in ways and in places and with people I could have never dreamed of.
After all these years, that boy has become a man, and I will always carry with me the lessons learned from my childhood hero Andy Roddick and how he has inspired a generation of millennials like me to carry the torch of as guardians of our game for a lifetime to come. Congrats Andy on your Hall of Fame induction and for all you have done for tennis and making this world a better place thru our beautiful game.

- Ryan J. Knarr