2018 USTA North Carolina Awards Luncheon

Abilities Tennis was well represented at the 2018 USTA North Carolina Awards luncheon in Pinehurst during Tennis Weekend.

The 2017 Adaptive Tennis Award was given to Christie Elliott (middle) & Lou Welch (right).


Christie started playing tennis in 2009 with the Adaptive Tennis program in Greensboro. Like most athletes, Christie began learning skills on the court, quickly moving on to play short court doubles and singles.  Thanks to her dedication to the sport and hours of practice, she now plays full court singles. Christie attends weekly Abilities Tennis clinics and she takes private lessons honing her groundstroke and volley skills in preparation for the next tournament. She participates in Special Olympics and has a 4.5 Special Olympics rating. She is always reaching out to others, encouraging them to play their best and her genuine delight in the success of others is undeniable.  Lou serves as the Executive Director of the Abilities Tennis Association of North Carolina. Her passion, enthusiasm and dedication are infectious. Through her hard work, she has helped the ATA grow and increase the services it provides its athletes. She puts in countless hours to deliver great programs and tournaments such as the Winston-Salem Adaptive Open and the Raleigh Winter Chill.


The 2017 Family of the Year Given by J. Blount & Dargan M. Williams was awarded to the Hunsucker Family.  While there are countless, amazing tennis families across our state, one family in Winston-Salem stands out among the rest.  Charles Hunsucker (left) has enjoyed playing tennis for nearly 50 years! He’s competed in USTA leagues, served as a Special Olympics coach, and his family has supported the Abilities Tennis Association of North Carolina since its inception. With the help and support of his wife, Frances (middle right), Charles often volunteers to coach and assist ATA national tournaments.Together, they founded the Winston-Salem Adaptive Open, a national Abilities Tennis tournament, at Taylor Tennis Center. Their son, Justin Hunsucker (middle left), has competed in the ATA and Special Olympics for 8 years, winning numerous tournaments and gold medals at the top division. Justin’s older sister, Kelly (right), enjoys playing tennis with her family and supports her brother and Dad at many of their competitions. Kelly’s 12-year-old and 10- year-old sons, are following their family’s love of tennis, both competing in USTA programs.


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9th Annual Winter Chill

Abilities Tennis of NC, serving athletes with intellectual disabilities, recently hosted its 9th Annual Winter Chill tournament at NC State University. Over 70 athletes from around the state traveled to participate in this event on Saturday, December 3rd at the J.W. Isenhour Tennis Center.

The Winter Chill tournament featured full court and short court doubles play for the athletes as well as a clinic, and player interaction with the NC State women’s tennis team. Lou Welch, Abilities Tennis Executive Director, stated just how important this event is to everyone involved.

Winter Chill gives our athletes the opportunity to compete in an exciting venue where they can come together and socialize, exercise, and show off the tennis skills they have been honing all year long,” Welch said.  “Having the NC State women’s tennis team acting as referees, instructing them and then playing with them, is a big drawing card for this event.  It is certainly one of our highlight events of the year.

The NC State women’s tennis team has been involved with this event since the inaugural Winter Chill tournament in 2007. Anna Rogers (Center), a freshman on the team, said she was honored to give back to the community and be a part of this event.

“When my coach told us about this event, I got so excited because I love helping out…We’re having so much fun, there’s so much energy, there is Christmas music, I just love it,” Rogers said. “This event is important because we need to make people aware of organizations like [Abilities Tennis], because not everybody knows about it or not everybody gets involved. But when people come out to these events, they really love it and they embrace it. I feel like everyone would be happy making these kids happy.”

When asked about her favorite part of the event, Rogers didn’t hesitate. “I like reffing a lot! You get to cheer [the athletes] on, and say good try or good shot. Then when they smile, it just makes me happy”.

In addition to the NC State women’s tennis team, over 60 volunteers from local High Schools and other organizations, along with those who show up yearly, came to assist with activities throughout the day.

Each year we have many of the same volunteers showing up because they know the heartwarming affect it has on all who attend,” Welch said. “There is a growing community surrounding these athletes, cheering for them on the court and off.  We, the supporters, leave the event each year feeling a sense of peace and a renewal of focus on what is truly important.”

Abilities Tennis holds tournaments and clinics throughout the year. For more information about this organization and its efforts, please visit www.atanc.org.


Article courtesy of USTA North Carolina.  You can read the complete article and see additional photographs by clicking here.

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Winter Chill 2015

December 5th – Registration is now open!

All Courts, All Levels.

Come play in the last event of the year! Whatever your level, you will have a really fun time, especially playing with the NC State Women’s team! Participation is free of charge.

Eventbrite - Winter Chill Tournament 2015
Eventbrite - Winter Chill - Volunteers

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Abilities Tennis Night at Cary Championships

Register to play at Cary Tennis Park during the new ATP50 Cary Tennis Championships! Volunteers and players, get more info and register here…

Eventbrite - Abilities Night at Cary Tennis Championships

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Footprints Still Happening!

We’re still having a party! Come to North Hills Club to enjoy dinner from 6:00-8:00pm and Silent Auction. The band, 40-Love, starts the music at 7:30pm. The storm won’t stop our fun! Thanks so much for all your support.

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