Philpott Ambassador Program
Lead Ambassadors are the lead role models for our Philpott Campers. The Lead Ambassador believes and promotes the vision that tennis should be accessible for everyone. We are always looking for lead ambassadors to help us increase awareness of affordable tennis for our youth!
Coach Ambassadors recognize that diversity is the key to growing the sport of tennis. Join coaches like Andy Sutton, Simon Bartram, Chris Gostek and Geoff Bower in becoming a Coach Ambassador! Whether you are a Coach or Instructor, you can become an Ambassador by making a recurring donation.
Ambassadors are Philpott advocates who generously make recurring donations (monthly) and are passionate about building more opportunities for children in underserved communities. Ambassadors are eligible to receive special opportunities from time to time such as free lessons with some of the very best coaches in Toronto, meet and greets with Leadership Participants from the community and maybe even a special one on one with Carol Zhao!
Meet our Lead Ambassador, Carol!
“Carol is smart, driven and kind. She is the perfect role model for our organization and for the children in our program. I couldn’t be prouder to welcome Carol into the Philpott Family!”– Jennifer Bishop, Philpott Chair
Carol Zhao is a Canadian professional tennis player who has a career-high singles ranking of No. 131. Recognized as “Ninja” to some on tour, Carol was a top player in her junior years, representing Canada in the 2011 Fed Cup team and being named the 2013 Tennis Canada player of the year!
Although she had the opportunity to turn pro, she accepted a full scholarship to Stanford University to pursue a Bachelor of Science as she found it was important to have the college experience before transitioning to the pro tour. After winning finals of singles in the NCAA in her sophomore year and winning the team championships in her junior year, she felt that she accomplished what she wanted to on the college front and that it was time to transition to the professional league. She won a gold medal for Canada at the Pan Am Olympic Games and was the number one ranked female tennis player in Canada in 2018.
Carol strives to bring visibility to the Asian-american community through her success in tennis and finds that the under-representation is a huge motivator for her:
“ – For maybe one day, kids to see someone being successful – like an ASIAN girl being successful in sports… That’s something that I hold very close to my identity – being Chinese Canadian.”
“Tennis has given me so much more than I can ever hope to ever give back. It’s taught me an abundance of life skills – how to work hard at something, how to persevere through difficulties, how to compete, how to be a leader – all very valuable life skills. It’s even given me opportunities to gain an education and travel the world.
To see an organization like Philpott give back to kids that wouldn’t normally get the opportunity makes me so honored to be a Philpott Lead Ambassador.”
Q & A with Carol!
I do, actually. I’m called NINJA by a lot of people on tour. I’ve had it for maybe 10 years – when I was younger, I used to wear this headband…and when I played, people thought I looked like a ninja.
I actually don’t listen to that much music before matches! Recently, I’ve been listening to a lot of Frank Sinatra, I’ve actually been feeling, oddly, that his stuff has sort of a calming effect. If I do listen to music, it would be that. Otherwise, I’m going over the game plan with my coach and doing whatever I need to do. I take more of practical approach.
Honestly, I would say winning the team championship in Stanford in 2016! That was just different than anything I’ve ever experienced by myself because it was such a team effort and it was something that we’ve been working for for three years. As an individual athlete, to get to experience that was really special.
This is something that I’m happy to talk about and hopefully, one day, bring visibility to the Asian-American community.
Even though there has been so much more representation in the past couple years, especially in athletics.. For the most part, we have been pretty underrepresented and that’s a huge motivator for me. For maybe one day kids to see someone being successful, an ASIAN girl being successful in sports, that’s something that I hold very close to my identity – being Chinese Canadian and that’s something I’m very proud of now.
When you’re growing up, it can be difficult because you’re trying to fit in and what not, trying to assimilate to the culture. I think being bi-cultural or bilingual is actually a huge asset and a huge quality and can make you more empathetic to others and more able to relate to other people’s experiences. That’s something that I love about myself now.
Well, for me, education has always been very important. Stanford was an incredible opportunity and something where I felt like I was going to be challenged, not just as an athlete but also as a person and as a student. That was something that I thought at that time of my life was very important for my personal development and something that could help me even in my tennis career and, of course, later on in life. For me, that was always the plan – to go to college and have that experience and then turn pro after.
First of all, it’s an honor and a privilege to be considered for such a role and I hope to be able to fill those shoes. For me, it’s kind of like what I said about the sense of community that we have in tennis and helping kids find their identity and their meaning through tennis and through wherever that brings them – whether that’s professional level, university level or just club level. And I think a lot of the life skills that you gain through learning to play tennis and competing is essential.
Don’t be afraid to do what feels right to you. For me, a lot of times in the process of my development, a lot of people thought, “This decision would be best for you,” or “You should do this.” When you’re young and don’t have a lot of experience, making decisions for yourself …it can be daunting to follow what feels right for you, but I think there’s value in that because you take ownership in your own choices and I think that’s huge.
the Ambassador program
The Ambassador Program was launched in the Summer of 2020 with Carol Zhao as Lead Ambassador. Philpott Children’s Tennis is looking for local celebrities and tennis players to increase awareness for the lack of accessibility of affordable tennis to children living in priority neighborhoods of the GTA.
proud to be philpott
Philpott Childrens Tennis is a charity that offers free tennis programs for children aged 6-15 in priority neighborhoods in Toronto. Watch our video to see what our Philpott family has to say!