Aiken is made up of dozens of hard-working tennis volunteers, passionate players, and inspiring individuals. But who are these people?

Today, through the Aiken Standard, USTA South Carolina introduces you to one of those individuals who enjoy fun exercise through tennis.

Cindy Kelly's a prominent Aiken tennis player. Last fall, she and her Aiken team won a USTA SC State League Championship. Earlier this year, she and her team also won a USTA regional championship in Alabama.

Kelly, a nurse at the Heart and Vascular Institute at University Hospital in Augusta, recently took time to answer questions about her tennis origins, why she plays, and which pro player she most wants to play tennis against.

USTA SC: How long have you been playing tennis?

Kelly: Summer 2010.

USTA SC: How did you get started?

Kelly: I took lessons with Mark Calvert at Odell Weeks because I had always wanted to play tennis. He encouraged me to play USTA leagues, and I was immediately hooked.

USTA SC: What do you like best about it?

Kelly: I like the camaraderie and the structure of USTA league tennis. It's like a steady play date for athletic friends. As far as playing, I love the strategy involved in playing doubles.

USTA SC: Where do you play in and around Aiken?

Kelly: My home court is Odell Weeks and always will be as long as I live in this area. Outside of leagues they offer a lot of clinics and activities. It makes it easy for me to play every day without having to organize anything. Last year I joined a league in Georgia. It's fun to play in two states at a time.

USTA SC: What would you say to others considering getting into the sport?

Kelly: Take lessons with a great pro and coach like I did.

USTA SC: Out of all the pro players, who would you most want to play tennis with?

Kelly: Serena. But honestly I don't watch a lot of pro tennis. I prefer to get outside and play myself.

Learn more about USTA South Carolina in Aiken at Braden works for USTA South Carolina, the state office of the U.S. Tennis Association. He can be reached at