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Player Spotlight: Stefanie Smart-Abbey Striving For Excellence

Mar 8, 2024

Stefanie Smart-Abbey JTCC High Performance Player

Leaving behind her family and hometown of Yonkers, NY, Stefanie Smart-Abbey, at 13-years-old joined JTCC’s Full-Time High Performance program in late 2022 to pursue her dream to be the best player she could be.

Smart-Abbey’s father, a seasoned tennis coach from Ghana, taught his 10-year-old daughter how to play tennis. She began making her mark at a young age in local tournaments by holding her own and competing in older age groups despite having only two years of tennis experience.

“Competing in the older age groups was challenging because I was still learning how to play tennis. I didn’t know what matches and tournaments would feel like because I was just used to hitting with my dad,” explained Smart-Abbey.

Smart-Abbey has dedicated herself to training and taking classes full-time while participating in the JTCC High Performance program and living with family friends in Maryland.

“Leaving New York to come to JTCC was tough initially because I left my family behind,” Smart-Abbey said. “I miss my parents, but I’ve enjoyed my time here thanks to the new friendships I’ve made and the rivalries we share on the court that push each other to improve.”

Smart-Abbey’s JTCC mentor is Staff Professional Ali Agnamba, who is from Togo, not far from her father’s homeland of Ghana in West Africa.

“Stefanie loves to have fun on the court, but at the same time, she trains hard and is receptive to feedback,” Agnamba said. “She moves extremely well, and one of our goals for her this year is to get her national ranking higher in order to compete in international tournaments.” 

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