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Blatty Helps Battle on Courts

March 18, 2005 11:41 AM

As a newly certified member of the United States Professional Tennis Association, 27 year old U.S. Army Captain Jennifer Blatty intends to assist others in their battles on the tennis court. Jennifer is no stranger to combat as she is a veteran of two wars, Iraq and Afghanistan, and has also battled on the tennis court since the tender age of five.

Blatty has had thoughts of joining USPTA since she was a student at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. She had dreams of coaching and always felt a teaching pro needed to become certified. As a junior player growing up in New Orleans, LA she had never given thought to attending West Point; she didn’t even know what West Point was before being seen by a recruiter while playing in an 18s tournament. It was at this time that she almost quit tennis because she had a bad season and had begun feeling the pressure associated with competition. However, her sincere desire to retire from the game she once loved was prevented by her mother who convinced her to play one more tournament. While being recruited, Jenn figured West Point would provide a good opportunity to play a top position on a Division I team. “I was not about to be a benchwarmer anywhere,” she asserted.

Blatty admits to being “really competitive” on the tennis courts. Her mother, Linda Tuero, is a former touring pro who during her tenure faced the likes of Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova before winning the Italian Open in 1972. It’s no surprise where she gets her competitive edge. Her father is novelist, screenwriter and producer William Peter Blatty. He won an Academy Award for the screenplay of his well-known book “The Exorcist.” Her aunt coached at Tulane University, contributing significantly to Blatty’s desire to possibly coach at the collegiate level.

The cadet attended West Point on a tennis scholarship and was selected team captain in her senior year. She broke the West Point record for singles wins in a season as freshman at the Military Academy while simultaneously earning a degree in foreign languages and civil engineering in 2000.

In addition to leading her team to nationals for two consecutive seasons, she played in the All-Armed Forces Tennis Competition in 2001. Here, her team captured the title and in the individual draws, she won both singles and doubles. Currently a Savannah teaching pro, she hopes to start giving lessons part time.

“It’s so fun to watch somebody progress; I really enjoy that,” she said. Improving as a player “gives you the confidence level that doesn’t apply just to sports; it applies to every part of your life. I’m a people person-I like helping people. I think winning or just playing well at any sport is gratifying,” Blatty said. “I would love to develop other people if they want to play competitively.”

With the discipline instilled in Blatty though her experiences in the U.S. Military coupled with the deep-rooted familial love for the game of tennis, she will easily accomplish her tangible goal of becoming a coach at any level she desires.


 

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