The Ending of My High School Tennis Career

Regionals finished this past week and for the first time, I’m not going to state. Some of you might think, “Yeah, whoopee, big deal,” but to me this is a huge deal. Since before my freshman year, I told myself that my goal for high school tennis would be to qualify for state for all four years. Despite my injuries, I worked my tail off to get to where I wanted to be. After some reflection, here’s what I wrote as my last entry in my tennis journal for high school season. It’s honestly pretty sad, but it’s how I was feeling.

I honestly prefer not to comment on this match like I usually do. (Sidenote: I usually talk about what I did well, what I need to work on, and my opponent’s playing style.) After hoping I’d get a playback match, I sadly and unfortunately write that I will not be going to state this year. After all my hard work, I missed my dream and goal. Gone. Finished. After losing, I needed some time to think, and clearly even a day or two after, I am really still not emotionally ready. My dad tells me I was “this close” but for something like regionals, “this close” doesn’t cut it. What did I do wrong? Did I not work hard enough? What could I have done to actually make myself proud? I really didn’t want my season to end this way, nor did I expect it, but it is what it is now. I really saw myself going to state one last time. I really pictured the next patch on my letterman jacket. I really saw myself walking into Gates Tennis Center ready for another fun time with my teammates. I know I can’t take it all out on myself and I truly do recognize that she played phenomenally. I guess she wanted it a little more than I did. I guess she’s just a little more in shape than me. I guess that’s just how it was meant to play out. My high school season is over, and yes, it SUCKED, it watch the rest of my team play at the second day of regionals. I felt that I belonged out there with them. I wanted to go to state with our 2, 3, and 4 doubles as well as my sister. Everything happens for a reason and I hope that I’ll eventually see the good in me losing this match. Thank you to everyone who made my high school tennis career what it was. I’m sorry it ended this way but thank you for making it what it was, regardless. Thank you for making me the player I am today and thanks for believing in me, even when I didn’t. Goodbye high school tennis. It’s been a wonderful experience.

After reading over my own writing, and taking some time to think about it, this experience was very humbling. Regardless of what my results are, I’m SO incredibly proud of the girls on my team that did qualify for state. I know they’re gonna crush it this next week. I’ve also learned that there’s just some things and dreams you can’t completely control and you shouldn’t destroy yourself over things like this. If things always worked out the way we want them to, we’d never become better people or learn from our mistakes. I’m going to miss high school tennis a lot, but I look forward to all of the other opportunities tennis has in store for me. It’s a lifelong sport and I can’t wait to see where it takes me.

Broomfield Holy Family Girls Tennis
Picture credits to Cliff Grassmick at the Daily Camera


Hello to High School Tennis Season

Girls’ tennis season has been in full swing since late February, and let me tell you, the weather we deal with SUCKS. It’s either windy or snowing or raining or freezing cold or all of the above. We deal with a lot of cold and by the end of matches, we all look like marshmallows because of the five layers we all have on.

Other than the weather chaos we deal with, our season can be so much fun. I’m very excited to be returning to my team at the #2 singles position. I’ll get to play a lot of good tennis and work on a lot of things as well. For those of you who don’t know how high school tennis works, you have three singles teams and four doubles teams. #1 singles is typically your top singles player and #1 doubles is your strongest doubles team, so on varsity, that’s a total of 11 girls. When we play other schools the match is called a duel (but I’ve actually never heard anyone call it this, haha) and you’re trying to win a majority of the matches to claim the overall match for your team. Fun, right?

Being a senior, I got to help pick out the uniforms and spirit packs this year and I’m very excited to be playing with some girls on the team for four years now. While some of us may not be that close, I’ve built friendships with some of the other seniors and I’m very glad to call them friends and great teammates. It’s kinda sad thinking that this is my last lap around high school girls tennis season but it’s truly been so much fun. Qualifying for state the past three years has been wonderful, especially considering my injuries freshman and sophomore year. Playing for the same assistant coach for all four years is also going to be great because I’ve become good friends with our assistant coach and she is such a joy and pleasure to work with. Getting to see my sister grow as a tennis player and make it past the first round at state (WHICH IS SO HARD TO DO, OMG) was inspiring and I felt so happy for her last season.

All of these things and more have made girls’ high school tennis a memory worth cherishing and here’s to the best season yet! Everyone has been working so hard and it’ll be exciting to see where the season takes us. 🙂

high school tennis
Picture credits to Cliff Grassmick at the Daily Camera and BocoPreps. (Haha, look at my face!)

Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova. Tennis superstar, fashion icon, and successful businesswoman. At seventeen, Sharapova wowed the world with a victory over Serena Williams in the finals at Wimbledon and since then, has claimed several Grand Slam titles and claimed number one in the world multiple times. Had it not been for the hard work and positive influences of her parents, Maria Sharapova might not be the iconic, outgoing, and wonderful person that she is today.

At the age of 5, Maria and her father moved to the United States. Her family did not have a TV and Maria played very little tennis during her childhood. Because of this, she spent a majority of her time with friends from school and with her parents. When she did pick tennis up, her coaches influenced her character and preached the importance of dedication and hard work to her. These fundamentals remain clear in Sharapova’s character today as she is a resilient and mentally-strong woman who has bounced back from a multitude of injuries and a-little-over-a-year long suspension from tennis. Maria Sharapova demonstrates hard work and dedication off of the tennis court through her highly successful candy business, Sugarpova, and work on her recently released book titled Unstoppable: My Life So Far.

Sharapova’s parents have had a strong influence on the tennis star in that they promoted education, being well-rounded, and positive thinking. Maria often shares stories about her mother and the impact and influence her mother has had on her. When Sharapova came to the United States with her father, her mother was very much still with her. Sharapova reports that her mother was always very keen on keeping her educated in her English studies and Russian studies. Yelena Sharapova also inspired and pushed Maria to spend time away from TV and tennis and visit places of art, music, and history like museums and performing arts centers for musicals and symphony performances. Sharapova has learned that education is important to succeed and recently decided to further her education at Harvard Business School. Not only is she working to improve her education but she promotes education for all and the idea of having a well-rounded life. The tennis star frequently shares her love for fashion and shopping and music concerts and art museums on social media. Several years ago, Sharapova founded the Maria Sharapova Foundation which sends scholarships to students in Belarus and her hometown in Russia to attend the Belarusian State Academy of Arts and the Belarusian State University.

Sharapova’s parents and wonderful coaches have helped make her the independent, strong, beautiful, intelligent and hardworking woman she is today. Her parents’ drive to excel in everything and their desire to be educated have surely influenced their daughter to help spread her love of art and fashion. They have helped Sharapova be a sports role model for children and teens. Most importantly, they have helped the tennis superstar inspire many to be educated and be an advocate for themselves.

Maria Sharapova

How to Hit a Slice Shot in Tennis

In the tennis world, we have a variety of shots to change up the pace on the ball and mix up things for our opponents. There’s lobs, regular groundstrokes, flat shots, shots with a lot of topspin, dropshots, tweeners (which are impossible for me to master, haha), slice shots, and the list could go on forever. Hitting with slice can be challenging, and I know that I struggled to get it at first but with time and practice, I think my slice shots are pretty effective. Here’s how to hit a slice shot.

When you hit with slice, you are putting backspin on the ball and your goal is to keep the ball low and out of reach for your opponent. Nowadays, a lot of people play with a big Western grip which allows for them to get great topspin on the ball. However, when the ball is hit lower, they struggle to keep the ball in play because their racket face is almost parallel to the court and it’s difficult to stay in the point.

  1. When you want to hit a slice shot, either an Eastern grip or continental grip will do just fine. I am successful hitting forehand slice with an Eastern grip and on my backhand slice, I find positive results with the continental grip, which is also what I use for my regular backhand. Hitting with these grips maximizes the underspin or backspin you get on the ball.
  2. As you prepare to hit your slice shot, it’s crucial to get a good shoulder turn. You’ll want your upper body turned with your chest facing one of the sidelines. As with all other shots in tennis, use your non-dominant arm to guide and track the ball into your racket.
  3. You’ll also want to make sure your knees are bent. This will allow for you to hit through the ball and get a good swing at the ball as your racket comes under the ball.
  4. Finally, you’ve made contact with the ball and your swing begins. Take a nice, relaxed, and long swing. A slice shot is a pretty and smooth shot and is not meant to be hacked or chopped at. Even if a slice shot is a more delicate tennis shot, you should still be accelerating through the ball. On slices, you’ll also want to start high and finish low and as you come through the ball, transfer your weight forward.

Another thing to remember with slice is that it often is NOT used as a winning shot or put-away shot. Many players, especially those on the tour, like Federer, Murray, and Nadal use their slice shots to move their opponents off the court and create openings for winning shots. Be smart with your slice shots and they will do great things for you.

How to Hit a Slice Shot in Tennis
Here is a guide to understanding the different grips and hand positions on the racket in tennis.

And here is a video on how to hit an effective backhand slice shot. There are plenty of other great videos on how to hit slice and there are plenty that focus on the forehand slice if you’re interested.

Revealing the True Colors of Your Opponent

For the past few months, I’ve played in a lot of tournaments and seen all kinds of tennis players. Along with those tennis players, came a variety of personalities and attitudes. One thing that frustrates me about some tennis players is their lack of self-control, class, and sportsmanship.

It’s hard to understand why some girls appear as sweet and friendly when they’re up and turn into jerks when they lose a game or even a single point. As soon as your opponent pulls out their claws, you know you’re in for as show. They start yelling at themselves, hitting themselves, abusing their racket, and using profane language. They lose all sense of control and even begin making bad line calls. They might even start questioning your calls.

This can be hard to cope with on the court, especially when you’re winning. It can be difficult to keep yourself optimistic when your opponent is acting like an animal. When I played a girl like that in the past few weeks, I struggled to keep the anger that was building inside of me contained. I was able to because I was disciplined and had class, but that wasn’t the case for the girl on the other side of the net. While I may have been winning for a while, I let her ridiculous actions get the best of me and had the match slip from my hands. So what.

A lesson came from that match and it is something I’ll never forget. Regardless of the outcome, I know I outclassed her and acted like one should on the court. If your opponent begins acting like a monster, ignore it, be yourself, and kill them with kindness. Allow your opponent to dig themselves a hole and self-destruct. Never let that kind of silliness get to you. When you play your best and ignore your opponent’s actions, you’re going to succeed.

Just remember this, play with class. If you choose to lose self-control and respect for your opponent and yourself, remove the “c” and the “l” and now see what you are.

revealing the true colors of your opponent and tennis

Tennis Etiquette: How to Respect Yourself and Your Opponent

Sportsmanship is a crucial part of building good character on and off the tennis court. There are times when players cheat or do things that aren’t respectful towards themselves or their opponents. This is true for all sports, but today I am focusing on etiquette in the tennis world. Here are a few ways to show respect for yourself and your opponent on and off the court.

Don’t trash talk your opponent. Just don’t. You should never talk bad about anybody anywhere and I feel like that is common sense. Still, for some reason, people think it’s alright to make others insecure or unsure of their abilities by talking about them to others in a rude manner.

Talk about your match until you are somewhere private and quiet. This follows along with the first tip in a way. After you’ve played a match, wait to say anything about it until you’re somewhere quiet and away from your opponent and their family. My family and I always wait to talk about how a match went until we get to the car. Once you get to the car, or wherever you go to, then you can talk about what went well that match and what didn’t. If you had any questions or concerns that weren’t brought up during the match, now would be the time to spill the beans. Still stay away from speaking negatively of your opponent.

Hand the balls to your opponent during changeovers. I know a lot of girls that will simply just tap the balls into the corner or fence after serving and allow their opponent to go get the balls after getting water. I have nothing wrong with that, but it’s a good idea to be courteous and hand your opponent the balls when you’re close together. As a side note on that, if you chose to hit the balls to your opponent from the other side, hit the balls to them directly so that they don’t have to run for the balls.

Show up on time. Whether it’s a practice or a match, show up on time. You can receive penalties for showing up late to a match in a tournament, so don’t let that happen! It is disrespectful to the tournament, your opponent, and other players to show up late.

Know the rules of tennis and abide by them. This is pretty self-explanatory but ignored by many players. Knowing the rules of the game is super important. On top of that, if there is an interruption or interference during a point, call a let. Either you or your opponent can call it. Calling the score loud and making your line calls loud are also important.

Turn off your cell phone. Most clubs prefer that you don’t bring your cell phone onto the tennis court, but if you do it’s not a big deal as long as it is turned off. You don’t want your phone to become a distraction to you or your opponent.

Shake your opponent’s hand at the end of the match, make eye contact, and tell them good match. Regardless of the outcome, you need to be a good person and thank your opponent for playing, let them know how the match went, and wish them good luck with their next match if they have one.

Be kind to yourself. Being the perfectionist I am, I struggle with respecting myself and being kind to myself. If you lose a point don’t yell at yourself or hit yourself in any way. It looks silly when you do this plus you are actually harming your body when you choose to hit yourself. Plus, it becomes obvious to your opponent that they are winning mentally and have the upper-hand. If you do get angry or frustrated with yourself after losing a point, there are other ways to release that anger by tightening your ponytail or gripping your racket tighter. When I start to get frustrated with myself, I do my best to focus on my breathing and getting into a very simple rhythm that can keep my head cool and off of other things.

This list of tips on how to respect yourself and your opponents on the tennis court could go on forever and I know that there are plenty of things that weren’t mentioned here. Just use common sense when you are on and off the court and think about how you would want to be treated. By choosing to be respectful to yourself and your opponent you will probably have a better experience with tennis and you’ll learn much more about your game, physically and mentally, and also learn about all of the potential you have as a person and tennis player.




Did You Know: Tennis

Tennis is an increasingly popular sport and just so happens to be one of my favorite sports. If you’re a person that plays or is wanting to learn some facts about the sport, here’s a few things you might not know about tennis.

-The longest match ever recorded was played between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon in 2010. It lasted 11 hours and 5 minutes. John Isner won the match and occurred over three days.

-Wimbledon is the only major tournament played on grass. The Australian Open and U.S. Open are played on hard courts and the French Open is played on clay.

-The modern game originated from Birmingham, England in the late 1800s as “lawn tennis”.

-Prior to the use of rackets, people used to play using the palms of their hands.

-Tennis balls were originally white but then yellow balls were introduced at Wimbledon in 1986 so the players could see the ball on the court better.

-The  courts were originally hourglass shaped. The rectangular courts came into being in 1875 for the Wimbledon tournament. A standard tennis court measures 27 feet wide and 78 feet long. For double matches, the width of the courts is 36 feet. The net is 3 feet 6 inches high, and it divides the court in half.

-A tennis ball weighs 2 ounces or 56.59 grams.

-The Williams sisters, Serena and Venus became the first set of sisters to ever win gold medals in the Olympics. This happened at the Sydney games in 2000.

-After Roger Federer, a phenomenal men’s player, won his first grand slam, Swiss tennis officials gifted him a cow. He was the first man from Switzerland to ever do something like that.

Tennis is a wonderful sport that a person can play throughout their life. If you are a person looking for something fun to try, I would suggest giving this awesome sport a shot. It can be a lot of work but tennis is a great source of exercise. It really gets you moving and it’s also a great sport that’s fairly easy to learn and a great sport to explore with friends. And if you’re not into playing the sport, maybe try watching one of the major tournaments. Wimbledon is coming up so that might be something worth watching. So whether or not this information is new, now you know a few things about tennis. Have a great week and stay cool!


The Djoker

Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, and others make it happen like #1 men’s singles tennis player, Novak Djokovic. Djokovic is a person that has reached his full potential because he loves and dedicates his life to tennis, works to become a better person and athlete daily, believes that his family is important, takes care of himself, inspires others, and accepts whatever happens in his life and makes the best out of it.

Novak Djokovic picked up a racket for the first time when he was four years old during a summer camp in Serbia. From that moment on, he decided to dedicate his life to the sport and traded in recess and playtime for tennis lessons. He worked long hours with his coaches, who knew ‘he would become a champion [because] he was focused, conscientious, and above all, talented’ (Novak: Novak Djokovic). Despite economic and political struggles in Serbia, Novak’s family sacrificed a lot of time and money and was able to support him to travel to Munich, Germany to receive training at a prestigious tennis academy. According to Djokovic, “…family is the most important thing and you have to stick with the family”. In Munich, he was able to grow extensively as a tennis player. As time went on, young Djokovic became a more dominant and developed player winning important tournaments throughout Europe. Finally in 2003, Djokovic acquired his first ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) points and turned pro. Since then, Djokovic has dominated the men’s professional tour with 703 career wins and 63 titles (Novak Djokovic: FedEx ATP) and is considered one of the greatest men’s tennis players of all time.

He inspires tennis players, young and old, all over the world with his amazing sense of humor earning him the nickname, “the joker”, his powerful presence on the court, and beautiful technique. Djokovic has reached his full potential because of this. The 28-year old tennis player is always looking to better himself as an athlete and person. He spends long hours on the court as well as off the court perfecting his technique, sticks to a strict, healthy diet, and conditions his body often to improve his strength. Being #1 in the world can be a tough position to hold onto, especially with players like Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal challenging Djokovic often. Djokovic says that to keep his top spot he vows “to work twice as hard” (Stutchbury). Even though Djokovic is #1 in the world and has been successful, he has dealt with failure along his path to reaching his full potential. Djokovic says, “A failure is not always a mistake, it may simply be the best one can do under the circumstances”. Being able to accept his mistakes and losses have been able to make Djokovic the strong person and tennis player he is. On top of balancing his personal life with his tennis schedule, the #1 singles tennis player founded his own foundation which helps “preschool-aged children from impoverished areas get the chance to learn and play in a safe, creative, and nurturing environment” throughout Serbia (About Us: Novak Djokovic Foundation). With the help of many volunteers and generous donations, Djokovic’s foundation has already been able to build 18 schools, support 325 families, train 636 teachers, and help over 10,000 children (About Us: Novak Djokovic Foundation).

Novak Djokovic has reached his full potential because he has taken advantage of his talents and abilities. He knows that he can make a strong impact not only on the tennis court but around the world. Djokovic said, “I believed I could do it” and that he did.


Works Cited

“About Us: Novak Djokovic Foundation.” Novak Djokovic Foundation. Novak Djokovic Foundation, 2016. Web. 30 Mar. 2016.

“Novak Djokovic.” A&E Networks Television, n.d. 30 Mar. 2016.

“Novak Djokovic: FedEx ATP Win/Loss: ATP World Tour: Tennis.” ATP World Tour. N.p., 2015. 01 Apr. 2016.

“Novak: Novak Djokovic.” Novak Djokovic. N.p., 2012. 30 Mar. 2016.

Stutchbury, Greg. “Djokovic Vows to Work ‘twice as Hard’ to Stay at Tennis Summit.” Evening Standard. N.p., 31 Jan. 2016. 30 Mar. 2016.

How to Stay Warm After Tennis Matches

High school girls’ tennis season is in full swing here in Colorado! This week we had our first two matches, and thank goodness we didn’t get any snow! However, we did get to enjoy (notice the sarcasm) the freezing cold temperatures, wind, and even rain. It can be extremely difficult to get warm after your match let alone stay warm. The last thing you and your team wants is a bunch of sick, cold girls. Here are a few tips on how to stay warm after tennis matches.

-Bring layers of clothing. As ridiculous as this may sound, it really isn’t. It gets COLD after you get off the court. You may be warm right after you play, but you’ll cool down real quick. Bring extra pairs of socks, gloves, hats, sweatshirts, long sleeve shirts, thin and thick, warm jackets, leggings, sweatpants, and whatever else you might need to layer. For my match on Monday, I had my windbreaker, tennis hoodie, and winter jacket on. While managing to look like a big, fluffy marshmallow, I also kept myself comfortable and warm.

-Blankets are a necessity. Fleece blankets work great to keep a person warm, however they don’t work well for the outdoor world of tennis. With the dirty, muddy ground, rain and snow, something thick, washable, and water-resistant will be better off. Some of the girls on my team have recommended bringing sleeping bags. Not too bad of an idea!

-Get into your sweats immediately after you get off the court. Like I said earlier, you may feel warm and comfortable right after you finish your match, but you’ll cool down really quick. With your sweat and the sun going down, you’ll want to warm yourself up in your clothes/blankets/sleeping bag as soon as possible.

-If possible, bring or have access to warm food and drink. Not only will your stomach be pleased with the nourishment, but your body will be warmed up inside and out. Make sure to load up on carbs and potassium so that you keep your energy up and prevent yourself from getting too sore the next day. I recommend warm pasta or bread of some sort for carbs. Soup, like chicken noodle soup wouldn’t be bad either. Bananas are great sources of potassium.

-Stretch and move around. Stretching will most likely only help your muscles relax and feel good after a long match but it could also warm your body up. Move around by jumping, walking, or doing a little jogging. Get your blood flowing and your muscles working. Just make sure not to overdue anything or hurt yourself.

I hope these five tips will help you all survive your tennis matches in the cold, end of winter weather. Spring is on its way soon and we won’t have to deal with the yucky, freezing temperatures much longer, so hang in there! Good luck to all of you with your seasons. Stay warm!

How to Stay Warm After Tennis Matches

Losing is Good for You

Winning feels great and makes a person happy, but there isn’t too much one can learn from winning all the time. A person can become arrogant and lazy and that’s why losing can sometimes be good for someone. It allows them to learn from their mistakes and do better next time. The article “Losing is Good for You” by Ashley Marryman contains many relatable points that can be applied to my life as well as the lives of others.

Ever since I was little, I’ve been involved in sports. My coaches have always been supportive and pushed me towards excellence. When I was younger, I was praised for participating in events, performing well, or winning tournaments, and there would be certain rewards that I earned. As I became more experienced and older, the rewards for performing well or winning were trophies or plaques awarded by the tournament directors. When I was twelve, I was on a club volleyball team and I was one of the strongest players on the team. My coach was constantly praising me and it felt good at first but then it started to get old. According to Marryman, “Awards can be powerful motivators but nonstop recognition does not inspire children to succeed”. I didn’t feel as motivated to give 100% because the praise didn’t feel genuine, since my coach was always praising me. My parents worked hard to develop humility and help me understand that winning does feel good but it’s just as good to lose because you’ll learn from your mistakes and do even better the next time you go out and play. In tennis, I’ve always had a high ranking and been known for my good record. About two years ago, I went through a long losing spell and that was definitely not a fun time. My dad did his best to get me out of the losing streak and eventually I was able to succeed again and from that experience I learned that “you’re going to lose more often than you win even if you’re good at something. You’ve got to get used to that to keep going” (Marryman). It was so rewarding to win after so many loses and I was able to grow as a resilient athlete. I’m more motivated to work hard and succeed.

I guess losing really can be good for you.