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Brandon On: Asian American Month Spotlight

Born and raised in San Francisco, Brandon On got his start in tennis in the Mission district. After meeting Alex Zhu, who was taking tennis clinics nearby, (and still one of his closest friends today), he decided to give tennis a try. Fast forward a few years and Brandon was receiving the Michael Chang College Scholarship.

Brandon started playing tennis at age 11 with the organization Youth Tennis Advantage and one of his mentors, Carl Mendoza. Only three years later, he made the tennis team at Balboa High School in San Francisco, where he played all four years. “Tennis is a great sport, I made a lot of friends back when I was in school,” Brandon says. During his senior year, Brandon started thinking about how to pay for college and that’s when Mendoza mentioned the college scholarships to his students. “I didn’t expect to win because I figured so many people were applying,” Brandon remembers. “But winning the scholarship is what I’m most proud of when it comes to tennis.”

Looking back at his years of competitive tennis, Brandon never experienced being treated differently because he was Asian-American, but “I did feel like I had to prove myself more than others because of the lack of Asian players at most tournaments.” And he did just that. Brandon was captain of his high school team and continued to play tennis while in college through Tennis on Campus (TOC) at UC Davis. “It was really fun. It was kind of a blessing in disguise to not be accepted on the varsity team because TOC was more relaxed, but still very competitive.”

Looking back on his college experience, Brandon appreciated the help he received from USTA NorCal with the Michael Chang College Scholarship. “It helped me pay a big part of my tuition and made it a lot easier financially.” This scholarship was a perfect match for Brandon, who relates to Chang’s character and work ethic. “Chang had this quote ‘You can work really hard, but if you’re not training in the right way, you’re not going to improve and get to the level that you want to’, that resonates with me so much because I believe that how you train is equally as important as working hard. Doing something over and over again incorrectly will not produce the best results.”

Brandon still plays tennis with his brother and appreciates everything that tennis has to offer. “Tennis has brought me friendship with a lot of players from different backgrounds and areas. It has helped me stay in shape to live a healthy lifestyle and allowed me to compete and have fun, while relieving the stress I endured from school.”

Now working at an accounting firm, Brandon takes all the skills he learned in tennis with him every day. And his one advice to graduating high school students: “Apply! Apply! Apply!”

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