Photo: @CULionsMTEN

In January, former National Tennis Centre (NTC) student Jack Mingjie Lin was honoured with the 2022 Today’s Top 10 Award at the NCAA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana. The award recognizes former student-athletes for their triumphs on the field, in the classroom, and in the community. Of the 480,000 students competing in the NCAA, only 10 students receive this noteworthy accolade.

Lin was a pre-dental student at Columbia University and finished his undergraduate studies with a 3.8 GPA. In addition, he was a six-time member of Columbia University’s Dean’s list, was named an ITA Scholar-Athlete and ITA All-Academic team member from 2018-2020, and earned Academic All-Ivy League Recognition on three separate occasions.

On the court, the native of Markham, Ontario, collected two ITA All-America honours, three first-team honours, and was named Northeast Rookie of the Year in 2018. He was also an integral part of the Columbia Lions team that won two Ivy League team titles in 2018 and 2019.

Despite being extremely busy with his studies and tennis, Lin is always looking to lend a hand, volunteering as a patient assistant at his local hospital, the Markham Stouffville Hospital, and in a couple of dental offices. On top of that, he utilizes his tennis skills to help out others in his community by coaching young tennis players in the Markham area.

Jack Mingjie Lin
Photo: NCAA

“Getting recognized for the NCAA Top 10 Award means a lot to me because it has always been my goal to be the best student-athlete throughout college,” Lin said. “Getting honoured by the NCAA for my community contribution is also pretty special. This is definitely the award that I am most proud of amongst my academic accomplishments.”

When Lin was in high school and looking at his options for college, Columbia University ended up being the perfect fit. The private Ivy League research university is not only one of the most renowned in the United States but also has one of the best tennis teams in the country.

“I have always wanted the highest results in tennis and academics,” Lin said. “When choosing schools, I wanted to be in an institution that gave me opportunities to fulfill my potential as a student-athlete. I also felt very welcomed and supported by the coaches, teammates, and the entire Athletic Department. I knew I was in the right environment to pursue my goals and as I reflect on my journey, I definitely made the right choice.”

Prior to his NCAA successes, Lin was a part of the National Tennis Centre presented by Rogers (NTC) for four years (2013-2017). The NTC is designed to regroup Canada’s best athletes in one location to provide them with training, education, coaching, and sport science resources to help them succeed at the highest level. Under the guidance of some of the best coaches in the world, Lin was able to develop his skills on and off the court.

During his time at the NTC, Lin reached a career-high No. 47 in the ITF Juniors World Rankings. Some highlights include a main draw win at the Junior Australian Open, two U18 ITF titles, and a remarkable win over American Taylor Fritz, who’s now ranked inside the Top 20 in the ATP Rankings, at a Grade A tournament in Mexico.

Lin with Felix Auger-Aliassime and coach Guillaume Marx.

“I really enjoyed my four years of training at the NTC because Tennis Canada did a tremendous job supporting and developing the players to become the best possible tennis players,” Lin expressed. “In addition, the scheduling with training, conditioning, studying, and competing in tournaments were organized well. As an individual who wants to succeed on the court and in the classroom, it taught me to manage my time efficiently and handle the pressure to fulfill my expectations.

“I am grateful because Tennis Canada not only developed my game but also built on my character. I became a much more resilient person throughout the four years.”

Lin was an outstanding student. He was keen to learn and was always looking to improve his game. His strong work ethic didn’t go unnoticed and he was greatly respected by his coaches and fellow classmates. Lin’s hard work and dedication eventually earned him a spot as a hitting partner on Canada’s Davis Cup team in 2016. Lin, who was 17 at the time, joined the team for their tie against Chile.

Lin practicing with Canada’s Davis Cup team in 2016.

While representing his home country meant a lot to Lin, his fondest memories on the tennis court happened when he was learning the game as a kid, spending time practicing with his incredibly supportive mother, Sally.

“When I just started learning how to play tennis, I would go to the park and hit against the wall,” Lin recalled. “In the beginning, I was hitting the balls everywhere and my mom was chasing after them. We were both laughing but had so much fun in the process. After 15 years since I started playing tennis, she is still so supportive of me and she has given me a lot of confidence to become the person I am today. I would not be able to achieve the success I have today without her guidance.”

Lin’s mother, Sally, joined him on stage in Indianapolis to accept his Today’s Top 10 Award. Photo: @CULionsMTEN

Fast forward to today, Lin is now looking at what lies ahead in his career. The pre-dental graduate still plans on becoming a dentist and will continue to help train the young tennis players in his community.

Tennis Canada, the NTC, and Lin’s former coaches and teammates are extremely proud of his accomplishments and wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavours.