Class Act: Asher Yeo

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Photo by Emily Toth.
Photo by Emily Toth.

Asher Yeo has been working on his tennis game since he was in diapers, after his grandparents gifted him a plastic toy racket. “All he wanted to do was swing that racket through the air, and he wouldn’t let it go,” says Justin, his dad. “Next thing you know, he wanted to get on the court with me and hit balls over the net.”

That drive has only escalated over the years. The 10-year-old Forest View Elementary student gets his tennis practice in at Hollow Rock Racquet and Swim Club, where Justin is the tennis director, a minimum of four to five days a week. He says his goal is to be the next Roger Federer – he even has the one-handed backhand to match – but more than anything, he just “likes hitting the ball and having fun.”

“There are other things that I like to do, but not as much as I like tennis,” Asher says. “I love it more than anything else.”

Asher admits he’s become a little more competitive as he’s gotten older, which will be needed once he begins playing in tournaments, but one of the proudest moments for his dad was when he lost 6-love in one of his first matches. “He came off the court, and I asked, ‘How’d it go?’” Justin says. “He said, ‘I had fun.’ Didn’t worry about win or lose, just remembered a couple of good points. I was pretty happy with that.”

When it comes to school, math and science are Asher’s best subjects, and he’s won a classroom award for his kindness to others, as voted by his peers. “[Forest View] really places a lot on respect and gratitude and appreciation,” Justin adds. Those qualities translate back to Asher’s disposition on the court. “He’ll be happy to hit with anyone or play with anyone,” Justin says. “There’s so much to the sport that’s more than just competing. I just want him to enjoy it.”

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Amanda MacLaren

Amanda MacLaren is the executive editor of Durham Magazine. Born in Mesa, Arizona, she grew up in Charlotte and attended UNC-Chapel Hill, majoring in journalism. She’s lived in Durham for eight years. When she’s not at work, you can usually find her with a beer in hand at Fullsteam, Dain’s Place or Bull City Burger or getting takeout from Guasaca.

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