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Leana Marcezin had never played tennis until 3½ years ago. On Jan. 25 she will receive the 2013 United States Tennis Eastern Woman of the Year Award at the annual Eastern Conference in White Plains.

The USTA, acting as a not-for profit community organization, has a mission to promote and develop the growth of tennis. The Eastern Section is composed of all of New York State, Northern New Jersey, and Greenwich, Conn. For Marcezin to be chosen for this prestigious award is well deserved.

She and her husband Nick have given the Buffalo tennis community incredible support in the following manner. Marcezin has sponsored many tournaments in the Buffalo area through her husband’s company, Twin Village Recycling. She has helped local college students to get interested in tennis, funds USTA teams to travel to various events around the country, donates t-shirts in events she helps sponsor, and captains six USTA teams.

Marcezin, who came to the United States in 1998 from Russia, said, “Everything I have done in tennis wasn’t to become the woman of the year.

“I love tennis and was stunned when I was notified that I was going to receive this award,” Marcezin added. “I cannot tell you how thrilled and appreciative I am.”

Her husband Nick, a solid 4.0 Senior player, was instrumental in getting her involved in tennis. “Nick and I wanted to get into an activity that both he and I could enjoy,” she said. “I never thought we would take up tennis together because Nick was such a good player and I had never played in my life.”

After watching some tournaments and USTA matches at the Miller Tennis Center, she started to get the urge to take lessons. Her husband bought her a couple of rackets and admitted that he was skeptical about how she would do and if she even would like tennis. Steve Ginsburg, a tennis pro at Miller, started giving Marcezin lessons once a week.

“It wasn’t easy at first because Leana didn’t even know how to keep score,” Ginsburg said. “The first few weeks were very frustrating for her. And then, as she started to improve her love for the game was obvious.”

She continued taking lessons 5-6 days a week in the beginning and continued so with different time frames over the next year and a half. Her game was improving at a steady rate and today she is a legitimate 3.0 player. Her enthusiasm for the game is contagious.

Nick relates an instance in a USTA mixed doubles match that he was playing with Leana this past summer. They were tied with a team at 1-1. The team they were playing against needed to win the match against the Marcezins to go to the nationals. Nick laughed as he said, “I told Leana to stay in the alley and I would cover most of the shots.” Of course, they tried to hit as much as they could to Leana. However, she played steadily and helped post a great upset win.

Playing tennis and helping people has become a great part of Leana’s life. Although she greatly appreciates the upcoming award and has improved her tennis game greatly, she is just thrilled that she and Nick have been able to help the tennis community in any way that they can.

“My goal has always been to serve the community,” Marcezin said.

“My husband and I have helped people as much as we could because it gives us great satisfaction to see people enjoying tennis and loving the game. Just knowing that we have played a small part in many tennis players’ lives is the most wonderful feeling in the world.”

email: thregreatgar@verizon.net