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Wendy Sielaty is the Raleigh Tennis Association's 2021 Player of the Year!

Updated: Feb 23, 2022

Wendy is known by her teammates as the ultimate team player. Teammates say that she is always encouraging others, that she remains calm on the court and plays excellently for her level. She is known to fill in for other players at a moment's notice and often can be found on the sidelines cheering on her teammates—even if she's not in the match! Wendy has a reputation for being determined, a dedicated team player, a hard worker, and is thoughtful and reliable. One teammate commented on how she “always makes herself available on match days even if she is not in the line up just in case she is needed at the last minute! She works so hard on her game and is so receptive to feedback and changes to better her play!” When not playing, Wendy is often found attending matches even when she’s not playing so that she can cheer her teammates on or give an encouraging word or a helping hand to a needy teammate. Wendy first began playing tennis consistently in 2008 when her children were learning how to play. A friend suggested to her that they take a clinic so that they could play along with their kids. Soon after, they formed a USTA team and her love story with tennis began. Wendy’s played on many teams over the years and watched her rating go up and down. In 2019, she decided that she was ready to get serious about her game. She realized that she needed to commit herself to improving her health. By May, she had lost 60 lbs and experienced a complete shift in her life. When the pandemic shut down courts, play stalled, and the progress she had gained in her skills got rusty. In 2021 she began taking weekly clinics, and since then her game has improved significantly, and she finally felt that she had achieved the goal she set for herself a few years before.

Tennis is the one sport that Wendy will get up early in the morning and go into the cold, heat, humidity, or whatever weather is waiting to play. She says that “Tennis is both physically and mentally challenging and exhausting. While the fundamentals are the same, every match is different and exciting. It just leaves me wanting more and more. This sport has had such a positive impact on my life, from being the reason I decided to make a significant change in my life, to helping me manage the stress and anxiety that comes with daily life.” Wendy’s passion for tennis has led her to play on so many teams over the years, including USTA, RTA, World Team Tennis, and now Western Wake Tennis. In 2021 she played on 3 spring teams, 4 summer teams, 5 fall teams, and 5 winter teams. Additionally, she played on the summer singles and doubles ladder, the Cy King Tournament, the Sip ’n Serve league, and Wednesday Women’s Quads either as a regular or a sub. She’s always on the hunt for the next reason to spend time on the courts! She recalls “I have so many wonderful memories (and a couple of embarrassing ones too) but my favorite is probably the Cy King Tournament with my partner Marie when our finals opponents decided to surprise us and show up in the same colors, we were wearing that weekend. It was a hilarious surprise and really made playing that final match so much fun! Thanks, Anna & Olga for the fun memory. I’ve met so many wonderful ladies and made lifetime friends. I cannot imagine what I would be doing with myself if I hadn’t followed my initial desire to learn how to play. I also managed to get my husband into tennis this year and we are able to enjoy time on the courts. I’m very excited for the coming year and the new memories that will be made.” Wendy concludes, “2021 was the best year for my tennis experience. I was co-captain of the 2.5 singles team that went to the State Championship in Goldsboro in October. I was also co-captain of the 5.0 Combo team that went to, and WON, the State Championship in Wilmington in November. I have never received an award or trophy for any sport I’ve participated in, and to do this as a 50+ year-old is just incredible. However, being chosen by my tennis peers as Player of the Year will be the one achievement, I treasure the most. What an honor to be seen by others as a positive ambassador for the sport I love.” The honor is ours, Wendy! Congratulations!

Wendy with her award

Julie Dick, RTA Executive Director presenting Wendy with her award.

Wendy and her team

Wendy (right) matching with her partner, Marie at the Cy King Doubles & Mixed Tournament

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