SC teen uses opportunity to give back

Nadia Hilton-Adams
Greenville, SC-February 3, 2012-  On November 1, 2011, HEAD announced the winners of their "Use Your INTINCT to play with World # 3 Maria Sharapova national essay contest. The Grand Prize Winner is Southside IB high school Sophomore, USTA junior tennis player, honors student and aspiring collegiate and pro tennis player, Nadia Hilton-Adams. Nadia’s grand prize includes a hitting session with Sharapova, HEAD YouTek Instinct Racquets, HEAD tennis bags, HEAD sneakers and a 15 minute private autograph session at Nadia’s tennis club in Greenville, SC.

A native of Charlotte, NC, Nadia’s tennis dreams began at 6 years old. However, after 4 1/2 year break from the game (ages 10-14) and a move to Greenville, SC, the odds were against Nadia truly developing and building a game in time for her dreams of collegiate and pro tennis to come true but that didn’t stop her desire.

So, with an ever depleting savings account and a whole lot of hope, Nadia’s mom, Dawn Hilton-Williams and her stepdad Anthony, scoured the Upstate, SC area; moving from one good coach to another for over a year until they found the best coach/player combination for Nadia, in former #1 All-American Stanford player/alum & former professional tennis player, Ryan Haviland.

In January, 2011, Nadia and Ryan entered the process of unlearning almost everything and starting from scratch to rebuild and develop Nadia’s game and while its still a work in progress, marked improvement is evident. She believes that nothing will stop her from achieving her dreams and that her winning the essay contest to meet one of her tennis idols is another sign that the odds don’t matter; only effort and determination. 16 year old Nadia says "People say that the odds are against my dreams coming true but that only makes me work harder to prove that real dreams & determination can beat odds!"

While the normal reaction of jubilation to have the opportunity to meet and hit with a tennis idol was apparent, what wasn’t was Nadia’s next actions; her focus on finding a way to give back. Nadia’s penchant for giving isn’t newfound; from volunteering over 200 hours with the ’08 Obama campaign at age 13, her free neighborhood tennis clinics to her cleaning, prepping & serving food to those in need at homeless shelters, Nadia believes in giving.

After researching Maria’s causes, Nadia decided that the best way to give back for the award of winning the essay contest and time with Sharapova was to start a Pay-it-Forward campaign to raise $15,000 for The Maria Sharapova Foundation, & the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) which Maria has been a Goodwill Ambassador for since 2007.

Nadia believes in the UNDP’s millennium goals and desires to one day be an UN Goodwill Ambassador as well. Nadia believes that the reason she receives anything is because she cares about people in need and helping.
Nadia says that if more people gave their time or just a little money, there wouldn’t be places where children go to bed without food or water or a roof over their head anywhere in the world. Maria Sharapova is one of many great athletes & celebrities who give back but you never hear about their giving; I want to help them to help others-people listen to them-they can make change happen and so can I!
  • The Tennis Channel is recording Maria’s early April 2012 time with Nadia in Greenville, SC
  • Nadia’s Pay it Forward Campaign Website: