If you're wondering who the kid is that so graciously looks like the Michael Jordan of tennis on the Ascot Manor teaser video, look no further.
With over 100 trophies and counting, fifteen-year old Harlem, New York native Donovan “DJ” Spigner is not like most boys his age. While most teenage boys spend their mornings before school attempting to get out of bed, Donovan is out on the court practicing his one-handed backhands and approach shots. This is followed by another two hours of play in the afternoon accompanied by an hour of fitness and conditioning, and that’s all between school work! And what’s considered ‘off’ days for the young tennis player is what most of us would consider ‘on’ days! Donovan tends to go for a run on the days he’s not training to improve his endurance and prepare him for the rigors of a tennis match, especially important as some of his matches have been known to last for over 3 hours!
Tennis runs in the Spigner family, with the the love of the game going as far back to 1968, when Donovan’s grandfather, Robert Spigner, began playing alongside his wife Geri throughout Brooklyn and Queens. This passion for the sport was passed down to Donovan, who picked up his first racket at 2 years of age. The Spigners were even named the Tennis Family of the Year in 2013 by USTA Eastern.
Donovan, a USTA Eastern junior player, has an impressive past on the courts, having demonstrated 10 and Under Tennis for former First Lady Michelle Obama, tennis legend Stefanie Graf, and top-ranked American player Sloane Stephens. Last year alone, Donovan went undefeated for 6 months, from January to June, winning 2 National level tournaments within that span.
The young player regards his biggest win to date that of his first Super Six finals, a national level tournament, which he went on to win as an unseeded player. With all ups there are always downs, and Donovan feels his biggest disappointment so far has been the finals of a national tournament held in New Orleans. Although he was a favorite to win, he ended up losing out to his opponent due to what he says was his ‘inconsistent play’.
With a current State Junior Ranking of #4 in the B14U and and overall National Junior Ranking of #67, Donovan and all those around him have high hopes for the future. Looking ahead to 2019, Donovan aims to begin playing in the ITFs and looks forward to traveling internationally to compete!
Behind DJ is a wall of support. Among his supporters is tennis great Katrina Adams, who has always been on hand to offer him advice and guidance on the game when needed. Adams, a former professional tennis player herself, served an unprecedented two consecutive terms as the CEO and Chairman of the USTA, and is now serving two years as the Immediate Past President. She also continues to serve as the executive director of the Harlem Junior Tennis and Education Program.
We here at Ascot Manor are thrilled to have Donovan on our future Sponsorship radar and we are excited for everything that lies ahead with him! You can check our Donovan’s Instagram page @dclutch1 and @donovan_tennis.
Sectional ranking: #4-Eastern b14u
National ranking: #67
Junior Career Highlights: Donovan was undefeated from January-June 2018; winning 2 National level tournaments within that span
Donovan is currently working as an alternate in the ITF due to the many applicants but is looking forward to travelling internationally to compete