Liang Wins Talbert Award, Looks Ahead to Harvard
by Colette Lewis
, 15 March 2013
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Spencer Liang was recently named one of the four national winners of the 2012 USTA Bill Talbert Junior Sportsmanship Award, an honor that signifies how she's matured during her junior career.
"My attitude on the court used to be not so good," said the 18-year-old from Potomac, Md. "I would get angry at myself. After those years I decided it was not really acceptable to act that way on the court - you're not just disrespecting yourself, but your opponent and the sport itself."
When Liang won her first sportsmanship award, in the 14s division at the Easter Bowl, she couldn't believe it.
"I thought they had the wrong person," Liang says. "I even asked them if they had the right person. But I was so happy, because it showed just how far I'd come."
Liang went on to win several other national, sectional and state sportsmanship awards, but the Talbert award, which comes with a trip to the Hall of Fame Induction ceremonies in Newport, RI this July, tops them all.
"I'm so excited," says Liang, who has never been to the Hall of Fame. "It's such an honor to be around such amazing people, amazing players and to witness the induction ceremony. Of course I'm looking forward to getting my award too, but it's so special to be a part of it all, to be there with my mother and my coach, who have been with me throughout it all."
Liang's two older sisters Samantha and Sydney were gymnasts, but thinking she couldn't match their competitive level and looking to differentiate herself, Liang tried several other sports, including swimming, ice skating and soccer, before a tennis clinic sparked her interest.
"It was one of those clinics with hundreds of little kids and you only hit one ball the whole hour," Liang recalls. "But that one ball that I did hit, I could actually hit somewhat well, so my mom said let's see how this goes."
Liang took private lessons and began playing local tournaments, while finding the coach that would guide throughout her junior development.