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Celebrating Women for Women's History Month: Joanna Nalborska

Joanna Nalborska holds the distinction of being not only the first female to play in the Men’s Open Division of the Springdale Open Tennis Tournament—she and her doubles partner, Brian Rosenthal, won the tournament as well!

When asked about her experience in the tournament, Joanna responded: “Winning the tournament was quite a surprise for me since I did not really focus on winning as much as on playing my best and trying to have fun while doing it. It was a great and memorable experience for me, and I learned a lot from it. I hope I can do it again in the near future.”

Joanna’s tennis journey began when she was very young. The child of serious tennis competitors who played in national tournaments in Poland, Joanna began playing when she was only 4 years old. She remembers fondly spending all day with her parents on the courts, watching them play and playing tennis and other games with kids her age. In this way, the tennis court became her second home.

Growing up, Joanna found herself frequently practicing and playing against male players, an experience which helped her build the stamina and endurance that assisted in her recent victory in the Men’s Open Division of the Springdale Open.

Joanna’s dad was her coach from the very beginning. He infused her with a passion to work hard and devote time every day to honing her skills on the court. Under his tutelage, she was soon traveling around the world to compete in tournaments. In her home country of Poland, Joanna holds the ranking of the # 9 career-high ranking in Poland Women’s Open Division and is a 2X Polish Tennis Champ in the under 21, under 14, and under 12 categories.

When she turned 18, Joanna pursued her dream of continuing to play tennis in college while studying in the United States. She played for two years at Louisiana Tech University before transferring to North Carolina State University where she played for an additional two years. In college she was named the WAC Freshman of the year in 2013, WAC player of the week, All WAC, and was selected for the All Louisiana Team. Additionally, she achieved the rank of 66th career-high ranking in the U.S Women’s College tennis players.

Since 2017, Joanna has been a Tennis Professional and Tennis and Sports Camp Director at the North Carolina State University Club. She is thankful to have been able to turn her passion into a career and hopes to continue to work in the tennis industry for a long time.

Her doubles partner and fellow Springdale Open Tennis Tournament champion, Brian Rosenthal, writes, I have teamed with several incredible players in my lifetime, but nobody compares to the on-court awareness of Joanna in doubles. We move together with incredible rhythm and build off each other's strengths. Her backhand and return of serve are world class, which takes the pressure off of us to hold serve. I very much hope we have several more years of doubles together.”

Additional accomplishments include: • Student-Athlete (March 2013 – May 2017) • Scholar-Athlete (Spring/Fall 2013, Fall 2015, Spring/Fall 2016)

• WTA rank. #1009 singles, # 948 doubles, ITF Juniors rank. #256, Tennis Europe rank. #44

• Rank. # 12 career-high ranking in the U.S Women’s Collegiate Tennis Regional ranking

• Winner of a Tennis Raleigh Pro League (2019)

• 16-2 overall and 14-1 mixed record in the RPL

As a dedicated and exceptional tennis player and coach with over 2 decades worth of experience on the court, Joanna is the picture of tenacity in action. Her success on the court and as a trainer and coach was won with daily practice and hard work. For her, tennis is not just about winning, but is also a way to grow personally, to create and nurture friendships, learn new skills, and especially about having fun!

When asked about her advice for young aspiring female tennis players, Joanna writes, “Dream big but be realistic. You should set your goals and take them step by step. Nobody succeeded without losing first. Stay motivated and positive at all times and success will come to you eventually. Never give up on your dreams!”

Next up for this tennis superstar will be the Raleigh Pro League this summer. You will also be able to see her play as a Pro-Am Cy King of the Court Pro-Am on June 10th at the NHC.

Joanna and her team, RDU Tennis win the Raleigh Pro League in 2019

Joanna participated in the first annual Cy King of the Court Pro-Am Fundraiser in 2021

Having fun at the King of the Court with fellow tennis pros!

Brian also is Joanna's partner in the Raleigh Pro League. Joanna and Brian in RPL over 3 seasons rock a 14-1 record in Mixed.

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