Q: When did you start playing tennis?

A: I started playing tennis when I was 4.

Q: Why’d you start playing?

A: It was [my mom].

Q: How long did it take you before you realized you could be pretty good?

A: I don’t really remember much from when I was 4. I kind of just swung. When I was, I think, 9, that’s when I did my first tournament, and I did pretty well in it. After I did a few more, that’s when I thought I could go pretty far in this.

Q: How have you improved this season at VES?

A: I feel like I’ve definitely improved my doubles more.

Q: How does singles play compare to doubles for you? Do you have to be in a different mindset for either, or do you like singles or doubles more than the other?

A: I feel like I’m better at singles, but doubles, it’s more fun because you have a person to talk to on the court.

Q: Why are you better at singles?

A: Just because I practice that more. A lot of the tournaments I play in have more singles than doubles.

Q: So let’s go back to the beginning of the season. Did you expect, as a freshman, to be at the No. 1 spot for singles?

A: Yeah.

Q: Is that because you knew you could compete with others on your team for that spot?

A: Yeah. I knew James [Cook]. He was No. 1 the year before.

Q: What was it like to take over that spot as a freshman? Was it more pressure on you, or did you like it?

A: I liked it.

Q: Did you expect as a freshman to be as successful as you were?

A: Honestly, I didn’t really expect it. I don’t know. I just played really well this season.

Q: So what were some of your goals this season?

A: One of my goals was to go undefeated, which I did that.

Q: Did you think when you made that goal it was a real possibility, or was it more of a far-off hope?

A: I think it was in the middle.

Q: So then when you actually did go undefeated, was there any kind of relief, or were you especially excited?

A: I was very excited. My final two matches I played, they were really close. I played Wolfgang [Ploch, E.C. Glass] and Ryan Monroe from Steward School.

Q: What was your best match of the season?

A: I feel like my best match was against Ryan. I play him in a lot of tournaments, and it’s always really close. I just feel like I played really good that match.

Q: Was there another moment in the season you’ll remember, or another accomplishment you’re really proud of?

A: When I won the conference individuals.

Q: Do you remember what your reaction was in that moment?

A: Not really. I was very happy.

Q: You seem very calm and collected. And even your coach said nothing really rattles you. Is that how you approach tennis or other things in life? And do you feel like that’s maybe why you’re as good as you are?

A: Yeah.

Q: What’s the biggest lesson you learned this season?

A: Just staying focused the whole time. If you lose focus for a while, it can really mess you up.

Q: What sets you apart from other players?

A: I feel like I want to make it really far in tennis, and I’ve wanted that for a while. I’ve practiced really hard.

Q: On the court, what is your biggest strength?

A: I feel like my biggest strength is my forehand. In the matches I use it a lot more. It’s stronger than my backhand.

Q: Having accomplished so much as a freshman, do you feel like you’ve hit a ceiling? Where do you go from here?

A: My goal for next year is I hope my team could make it farther. We made it to the semifinals in conference and states this year. I feel like we did pretty good. I feel like we can do [better]. We’re getting some new players.

Q: How about goals for you personally?

A: Definitely improving my backhand some, and [learning] strategies to use against people.

Q: What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from your coach?

A: My coach at Boonsboro, Shea Thomas, I feel like he’s helped me a lot. He definitely helped me make it this far. He taught me how to play against people at this high level. He’s just kind of talked to me, helped me get through hard times.

Q: What are you doing this summer?

A: Pretty much I’m gonna play tennis, go to the pool, then I’m going to Hilton Head [South Carolina], and then I’m also gonna play some video games, too.

Q: What’s your dream vacation?

A: Really never thought about that.

Q: What’s your favorite subject?

A: I feel like last year my favorite subject was biology. I’ve enjoyed science.

Q: What’s your favorite movie?

A: “Aquaman.”

Q: What’s your favorite meal?

A: My favorite meal is pasta.

Q: Who’s your favorite athlete?

A: Roger Federer. On the court, he looks calm. He doesn’t show emotion, give away anything.

Q: If you had three wishes, what would they be?

A: Can I ask for more wishes? I guess living a good, fun life. Enjoying it with all my friends. Equipment. I guess also new tennis courts at VES.

Q: If you have free time, what do you do?

A: I play video games. Probably just hang out with my friends. In the summer [we hang out] at Boonsboro. Also, my friends and I, we like to go mountain biking.

Emily Brown covers the Hillcats, ODAC and high school sports for The News & Advance. Reach her at (434) 385-5529. 

Emily Brown covers the Hillcats, ODAC and high school sports for The News & Advance. Reach her at (434) 385-5529.

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