Two years ago, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dahlia Morgenstern began playing tennis with David Nisenson, who runs the junior tennis program at Point Set Tennis in Oceanside.
The two also happen to be family friends, as Nisenson’s parents are friends with Morgenstern’s grandmother.
“I was coaching her outside during that summer of 2020, and afterwards, her parents said she loves training with you. She didn’t have a one-on-one coach at that time, and was taking some group lessons at the National Tennis Center,” said Nisenson. “They decided to come to Point Set when we re-opened and continue to train with me in our programs.”
It’s been two years since, and Morgenstern continues to improve. The soon to be 10-year-old has loved to play tennis ever since the first time she picked up a racket.
“I was first introduced to tennis when I was four-years-old by my parents who enrolled me in group lessons,” she said. “My parents thought I would be good at tennis because I had good hand-eye coordination.”
Morgenstern is a good athlete who brought that athleticism to the tennis court, which has really given her a great starting point from which to build her tennis game. She competes in travel soccer on a team full of boys, and possesses good hands and quick feet, two important skills for a tennis player.
“She came to me with a good foundation to start with,” said Nisenson. “It makes the process a lot easier, and she also picks things up very quickly.”
The two have now begun working on applying her technical skills and athleticism into becoming an all-around tennis player. The main point of emphasis is preparing her to compete in matches and in tournaments. They are working on sharpening up her serve, and establishing patterns such as rallying crosscourt and changing direction down the line.
“We are in the phase of reinforcing the technical work, but also working more towards the competitive part,” Nisenson added. “She has all the necessary skills, including the work ethic, to become a pretty good player.”
Morgenstern has come a long way in her tennis training, and the future certainly looks bright for her as she continues to grow and improve. She is an admirer of Serena Williams, who she says is her favorite player of all-time, and whom she idolizes because she never gives up and is always trying to get better. She tries to carry that same determination and effort into her tennis game.
“I like that tennis is an individual sport,” she said. “I always feel challenged to be my best each time I play.”
That desire to get better comes from her love of the sport, which makes training and going to practice a fun endeavor, rather than a chore. She enjoys going to play at Point Set and with Nisenson and his team, and is eager to continue her tennis development.
“David and all the coaches at Point Set make playing tennis so much fun,” she said. “David has taught me almost everything I know about tennis, and is always pushing me to be better.”
For a coach, hearing that his or her student is having fun and enjoying working with them is exactly why they do what they do.
“To me, it’s all about their interest,” said Nisenson. “Regardless of a player’s level, if the kid is really interested in the sport and coming to practice, that is what gets me and keeps me motivated. Dahlia really likes being on the court and coming here to play, and ultimately that is what it’s all about.”
Brian Coleman is the Senior Editor for Long Island Tennis Magazine. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.