Two local tennis professionals were recently honored by the US Tennis Association Long Island Region at its 26th annual awards dinner.Ahsha Rolle of Glen Head was named Tennis Professional of the Year and Hilary Bressler of Glen Cove received the USTA After School Tennis Program Award.
Rolle, high performance coach at Glen Head Racquet Club, played on the WTA tour for eight years, achieving a career-high ranking of No. 82 in the world. She reached the third round of the US Open in 2007, defeating the 17th seed in the first round; reached the third round of Indian Wells; has played in all four Grand Slam tournaments at least two times each, and won a $75,000 tournament in New Mexico. She played in the semi-finals against Russia in the Federation Cup for the United States in 2008. As a coach, Rolle has a passion for developing high performance juniors and loves developing women’s games as well.
Following career-ending injuries, Rolle dedicated herself to becoming a teaching pro and has won accolades and kudos from her students and coworkers ever since.
“Ahsha has a gift for teaching and has dedicated herself to the women’s doubles league, which is the heart of many of Long Island area clubs,” said one coworker. “She teaches very basic strategy and tactics and practices them through challenging drills and games. As a result of her practical approach, she managed to grow her following from a few ladies to competitive players and teams all over Long Island.”
Rolle is known by her colleagues for not just teaching strategy and techniques, but serving as a motivator, dedicated to helping each of her students improve. Her students, too, appreciate Rolle’s dedication to their games.
“Ahsha has really given me very practical technical tips to my game; she did not break down my existing strokes but instead tweaked and made them better,” said a student.
Another said, “Ahsha is one of the best tennis pros that I’ve ever met in my 12 years of playing tennis. I met her when I was a 3.0 and … she has brought my game to a new level. I am currently a 4.0; she has not only given me the confidence in my game but also has tweaked all my strokes making them stronger. Ahsha is fully committed and dedicated to seeing each and every one of her students improve. She is a joy to be around both positively and constructively and I love her energy and attitude both on and off the court.”
Added another student, “Ahsha’s dedication to us is apparent when she travels to be there and support us in all of our matches.”
Hilary Bressler, sales manager at Robbie Wagner’s Tournament Training Center in Glen Cove, has led the Wagner’s team in introducing tennis to a new generation by bringing tennis directly to children at school. Beginning with the 2014-15 school year, the Wagner’s team has been bringing the USTA’s 10-and-Under Tennis (TAUT) program to Temple Sinai/Roslyn, The North Shore School District (Glenwood Landing School, Sea Cliff Elementary School), The Greenvale School, Locust Valley schools, Theodore Roosevelt Elementary in Oyster Bay and The Portledge School as part of the schools’ afternoon activities.
“We set up after-school programs in the school gyms to educate elementary school children about the sport of tennis,” Bressler said. “We provide the pros and some high-performance junior players who go to each site and help the children.” Instructors follow the USTA’s TAUT format, in which equipment and courts are sized for children.
Robbie Wagner’s has been in the Eastern section of the USTA for more than 30 years. The club is totally committed to helping every child strive to reach their full playing potential, and encourages players of all ages and levels to train with them. Bressler, who has been in the tennis industry for the past 20 years, is the driving force behind the school tennis program.
She has been running successful 10 and under tennis programs in the Long Island school system and local preschools for the past six years, reaching more than 300 children. She also is working with the Glen Cove Boys & Girls Club to bring tennis to underprivileged youngsters in that community. Bressler and her staff of teaching pros includes both tennis pros from Robbie Wagner’s along with high school and college tennis team members in the area.