Sponsor An Athlete: Jessica Hiller-Davidson
For as long as I can remember I have loved playing sports. I played everything: Soccer, racquetball, gymnastics, swimming, softball; you name it and I have played it. However, when I was 12 years old everything changed. I went from being an extremely active child to being in and out of the hospital with multiple illnesses. That is when I learned I had a genetic condition that affected my joints, heart, and other internal organs which left me with a host of symptoms and the need to use a wheelchair.
It took almost 10 years of doctors, hospitals, and tests to finally get all of my medical conditions under control. Once I started feeling better, I did not know what to do with my life. I had missed most of high school and I thought that my days of playing the sports that once brought me so much joy, were over. Then in December 2015, as I was being fitted for a new wheelchair, the OT mentioned a wheelchair tennis program in the area and encouraged me to try it out. Playing tennis in a wheelchair? I didn’t know such a thing was possible. This moment started my journey into the world of adaptive sports. Over the next few months I tried multiple wheelchair sports, but the second I picked up a tennis racket I knew tennis was the sport for me.
I progressed very quickly in tennis and played in my first wheelchair tennis tournament on August 12th, 2016 only 9 months after picking up a racket. I lost all my matches at my first tournament, but that ignited my long dormant passion for playing sports competitively. I played in my second tournament only a month later and came in 1st in doubles and 3rd in singles. My hard work and determination had paid off! From there I continued to work hard to advance my skills. I have participated in high performance camps, taken private lessons, and play on an able-bodied tennis team. I recently competed in my fifth tennis tournament and made it to the finals narrowly losing to the number 5 ranked woman in the US. I am currently nationally ranked in the top 25 in singles and the top 20 in doubles. My goals for tennis are to continue to improve my skills and participate in more tournaments to increase my ranking. From there I strive to compete in the Maccabi Games, become a member of the national team, and compete in the Paralympics.
Now that my medical conditions are more stable I have completed my GED and I started college this fall. I plan on getting a degree in National Security with a concentration in Intelligence and Security Analysis.
Tournament Win History
- 2016 Delaware Wheelchair Tennis Championship, Newark,DE 1st place in doubles and 3rd place in singles.
- 2017 Pacific Norhtwest Sectional Wheelchair Tennis Championship, Salem,OR 8/2017. 1st place is doubles, 1st place in consolation singles.
- 2017 Ability 360 Desert Open, Phoenix, Az 1st in Men’s singles, 1st in mixed doubles, and 1st in women’s doubles.
- 2018 Hendrickson Wheelchair Classic, San Diego 2nd in singles losing in close finals (3-6, 6-4, 5-10) to Lauren Haneke-Hopps ranked 4th in the country in women’s open division.