Getting to Know … Nadia Abdala

New USD women's tennis coach Nadia Abdala inspiring a group of players.

Credentials: Over the last 15 years, Abdala has developed an impressive resume as both player and coach. She was ranked inside the top 20 in both singles (#19) and doubles (#11) nationally while a member of the Arizona St. University Women’s Tennis Program (2006-2010). After spending several seasons traveling the world as a professional on the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) tour, Abdala joined the USD Women’s Tennis program in 2014. Her impact was immediate and indelible, and led to her being recognized by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association as a three-time Southwest Region Assistant Coach of the Year (2015-16, 2018-19 & 2020-21). It’s all been preparation for what she sees as her biggest — and most rewarding — opportunity to date: helming USD Women’s Tennis. “Working with [former USD Women’s Tennis Head Coach Coach] Sherri Stephens has been a blessing on so many levels, and I’m looking forward to applying what she’s taught me, and what I’ve developed on my own, to make this program a national title contender.”

One is the loneliest number: Traversing the globe to play tennis tournaments in some of the world’s most idyllic locations sounds downright awesome, right? To hear Abdala tell it, there’s two sides to that coin. “Tennis brought me to all these incredible places. I met great people, but … I think it’s expensive, and it’s lonely, I would try to warm up with someone and then I would show up and that person decided to warm up with someone else without letting me know. So, I would travel to Greece, and then I’m like, not ready for my match, because I cannot find anyone to warm up with. It was a challenge like that.”

An office with a view: When Abdala’s playing career came to an end, she took a job in a marketing firm in an effort to settle into the next chapter of her professional life. Problem was, she kept finding herself looking out the window and wishing she was back on the tennis court. Something had to give … and the desk job had to wait. “You go from being outdoors your whole life into being in an office, and I don’t know, I just didn’t like the environment. The job was OK, but the court is where my heart is. My passion is. Now it’s my office!”

The heir apparent: During her 38-year tenure as the leader of the USD Women’s Tennis Program, Former Head Coach Sherri Stephens built a successful and perennial West Coast Conference contender from the ground up. Abdala has used her opportunity as Stephen’s assistant to soak up all the knowledge she could, and is thrilled at the opportunity to put her own stamp on the current and future success of USD women’s tennis. “I mean, Sherri is USD Tennis, on so many levels. She was a great coach, and a great teacher. One of the most important lessons she taught me was that, in order to have success as a head coach, you need to be authentic; be yourself. I think about that a lot, and it’s helping me in how I deal with the players, deal with recruiting, deal with management … all the things you need to handle to be the best coach possible. I’m really looking forward to the opportunity!” — Mike Sauer


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