What Does It Take to Be No. 1?
by Trent Alenik, 10 January 2014
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I have known Kimberly Yee since she was seven years old. Being number one is a reoccurring theme in her life - having won the national championships and reaching the No. 1 ranking in the girls 12s, 14s, and 16s, often times in both singles and doubles.
Top junior recruit Kimberly Yee
© Doug Wrege, TennisRecruiting.net
But from what her coaches, friends and family say, her greatest strengths are off the court, as a student and most importantly as a person.
"Kimberly spends two hours a day and all day Saturdays volunteering to mentor and coach young girls in her foundation," explained USTA Nevada's Executive Director Ryan Wolfington. "Most top ranked players have an attitude and are "me" driven. Kimberly is driven by how she can help others and improve as a person. It's unlike anything I have ever seen."
Wolfington should know since Yee has been part of the Marty Hennessy Jr. Tennis Foundation (a USTA NJTL Chapter he founded) since she was seven years old - a foundation that I, too, graduated from and was a part of.
"Kimberly mentors countless younger players with their personal problems, setting goals and tutoring," said Wolfington. "She is a coach's dream, one of the best leaders we have ever had."
Kimberly recently put together a group of children to start an "Apprentice" competition that raised $80,000 for the children she mentors, so they can get the same help she had growing up.
"I love helping people, doing projects and making things happen, it's fun for me," said Yee. "The foundation has been there for us since I was young and I wanted to give back but we never expected it to go so well."
Each summer I would come home from college and see how the younger generation was progressing. I was always curious how Kimberly got so good. When asked what it took for her to become the number 1 ranked recruit on TennisRecruiting.net, Kimberly Yee felt awkward.
"First I want to clear up that 'being the number 1 recruit in the country' means nothing. If the number 1 and the number 100 (player) are both working their butts off, loving the game, and being dedicated to being their best, the only difference is two zeros," explained Yee. "There are a lot of people better than me and just as good. I don't like pretending like I am Number One because I am not. Next week that could change."