With Hall of Fame inductees Grand Slam champion Lindsay Davenport and famed coach Nick Bollettieri looking on, Las Vegas’ Kimberly Yee will accept the nation’s highest junior tennis award this weekend at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I.
The 17-year-old Odyssey Charter High School senior has been named a recipient of the prestigious Bill Talbert Junior Sportsmanship Award, which is presented each year by the Board of Directors of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
The award began in 1987 and is given to a “junior player who exemplifies the finest qualities of sportsmanship in tournament play and the finest traditions of the great sportspersons of tennis past and present.” Past winners include current WTA and ATP American players Alexa Glatch, Alison Riske and Las Vegas’ Sam Querrey.
“The credit for this award is really for the team that helped me: my parents, my USTA friends from NJTL and the USTA Serves Foundation and all my teammates at NO QUIT Tennis Academy,” Yee said. “Since I was 9 the USTA has been helping my family and made much of what I do possible.”
Yee has been No. 1 in the USTA national rankings in the girls’ 12s, 14s, 16s and Top 10 in the 18s. She came through the local Las Vegas NJTL chapter called the Marty Hennessey Jr. Tennis Foundation. She is also part of Team Bryan, a USTA NJTL Excellence Team in partnership with the Marty Hennessy Jr. Foundation where she mentors and tutors children 3-4 times per week and teaches the next generation of players on how to be a polite, kind and respectful champion. She is coached by her father Adam Yee and Tim Blenkiron from the NO QUIT Tennis Academy.
“Bob and Mike Bryan have been Kimberly’s heroes since she was young,” said Ryan Wolfington, who started the Foundation 10 years ago as a volunteer. “Like Bob and Mike, Kimberly has always had all A’s, incredible sportsmanship and an amazing desire to help other people.”
Yee’s efforts will be honored at the Friday night awards dinner that will be attended by all of this year’s Hall of Fame inductees. On Saturday, Yee will attend the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies of Lindsay Davenport (former No. 1 player); Chantal Vandierendonck (wheel-chair great); Nick Bollettieri (coach); Jane Brown Grimes (industry leader); and John Barrett (tennis historian/journalist).
“Kimberly’s desire to help others is so significant that I was afraid it would interfere with her training,” Blenkiron said. “But then she explained that giving back is what motivates her. I think she wants to do for other children what the Bryan brothers did for her.”
Bob Bryan commented in a video done on Yee that, “One of the best things you can do in tennis is win an award for sportsmanship and character,” he said. “She is a great role model and we really look up to her. We thank her for leading Team Bryan.”
Wolfington concluded, “I’ve been involved in tennis for the past 15 years, and I’ve never come across a student like Kimberly Yee. “She’s No. 1 in the country; the top tennis recruit. She gets good grades and continually sets an amazing example to others in the Foundation by volunteering and mentoring children.”