August 20th, 2019

Jacksonville’s Xander Freeman Wins 21st Annual NJTL Essay Contest

General News Youth Tennis News

Xander Freeman of Jacksonville, Fla., and the MaliVai Washington Youth Foundation was named the Boys’ 12 and Under winner in the 21st annual NJTL Essay Contest.

The 10 winners for this year’s contest were announced Monday by the USTA Foundation, the national charitable arm of the United States Tennis Association. The winners range in age from 10 to 18 and participated in National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) chapters nationwide. They were selected from more than 2,600 entries submitted this summer.

This year’s essay question asked: “This year marks the 50th anniversary of NJTL. What specific impact do you hope your chapter can make in your community today that you would want remembered 50 years from now?”

12-year-old Freeman wrote, “The impact that I hope to see my NJTL, the MaliVai Washington Youth Foundation, make is that they can get all of the youth off the streets and have a safe educational environment to come to after school.” He went on to write, “MWYF can continue to help youth develop positive mindsets that we are winners at the end of the day no matter what. The staff love us so much that we consider each other family. They provide us with life skills classes we can use to overcome the hardships in life, help us with our homework and other educational activities that youth will need 50 years from now.”

Each winner will receive a trip to New York City from Aug. 22-25 along with a parent or guardian, f0r a once-in-a-lifetime experience at the 2019 US Open. There, they will have VIP status in the USTA President’s Box in Arthur Ashe Stadium as part of the 2019 Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day, powered by Net Generation. The annual youth celebration takes place Aug. 24 and precedes the US Open. 

Presenting sponsor of the essay contest Deloitte will also welcome the winners and their chaperones to its New York City office on Aug. 23. The winners will participate in an educational and immersive experience, and spend time with professional mentors to learn about the importance of strategic thinking, working with others, and networking. The group will also visit 30 Rockefeller Center’s “Top of the Rock.”

The weekend will wrap up at an awards luncheon on Sunday, Aug. 25, hosted by USTA Foundation Honorary Board Member, and former New York City mayor, the Honorable David N. Dinkins.

The luncheon will be held at the Yale Club, where the essay contest winners will receive an honorary plaque. This year’s emcee will be USTA Foundation Past President and 21-time Grand Slam doubles champion Pam Shriver. Deloitte’s Chief Inclusion Officer, Dr. Terri Cooper, will deliver the keynote address.

“We are excited to celebrate 50 years of the NJTL network,” said Dan Faber, Executive Director, USTA Foundation. “One amazing highlight of this celebration is the opportunity for us to honor this year’s essay contest winners, who exemplify the essence of what NJTL represents.”

To see the full list of award winners go to