Long Island teen in wheelchair shines against able-bodied tennis players

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NEW YORK — For 16-year-old Nathan Melnyk, when it comes to his tennis game, he's always looking to improve.

"Being on a team, and playing with people I know really helps me with my nerves," he said.

Along with that, he's got a whole team who has his back.

Melnyk, who was injured in a car accident in 2009,  is believed to be New York's first wheelchair athlete to compete against able-bodied students in a varsity high school tennis match.

Nate previously has played singles and doubles wheelchair tournaments all around the county and has also ranked in the top ten nationally on the USTA's wheelchair circuit.

"I think he's just proud to be playing on his team. Any time the ball hits the racket or he has a great return, hes happy," says his father, Mike.

Nathan uses an adjustable tennis wheelchair, with extra wheels to help him maneuver around the court.

"I hope I can make the national team one day but that's going to take a whole lot of work," Nate says.

His father says while tennis has helped his son recover both mentally and physically since the accident, Nate is just like any other teenage boy who happens to love tennis.

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