Q: Do you remember when tennis became your focus?
A: I remember playing soccer for like five years and recently basketball. I love basketball and played last season at VES, but this year, it was probably the first year that I was completely, absolutely focused on tennis, because I realized it’s what I really want to do. But tennis has always been the main thing.
Q: What do you feel like your role is on this team?
A: Hopefully I motivate the people I play with. … But every match counts the same, so it’s not like I’m more important than anyone else, because if I win my matches and nobody else wins their matches, then we’re not gonna win the whole thing. So every person on the team, especially the top six, their matches are important, so I hope I motivate them to practice so we have a good season.
Q: Is it difficult with tennis being such an individual sport for you to also focus on being part of a team?
A: It’s definitely different, especially the process with the team. In matches, I’m the one on the court with my opponent. Playing doubles is the extra step, but it’s made [playing for a team] more fun.
Q: Do you wish you played in the spring rather than the fall?
A: It’s different, because a lot of people play in the spring, and I could be playing different people, but honestly it’s not that much different. It rains less, so that’s pretty much the one thing. It’s good to not have to share the court with the boys.
Q: What’s something you’re most proud of while playing with VES?
A: With the team, it was definitely freshman year, having the 13-0 record and making it to semis in states. That was just an amazing experience that I’ll remember. Hopefully next year we can get first.
Q: Is there a match that you’re particularly proud of?
A: It was the doubles, beating the No. 1 at North Cross [this year]. That was one of the best doubles teams, and they won states. It was awesome because it was a battle, and also it was on our home courts, so everybody was there. That made us have the 5-4 score, so it didn’t technically mean anything [for the match] because we’d already lost, but getting that win still meant a lot.
Q: What’s your favorite memory from this year?
A: The bus rides were really fun, and we always have team dinners, even during the winter and the spring; just getting together. And pulling out a tight match — I guess it was against [St. Anne’s-Belfield]; they’re a Division I, and we beat them. … But also singles, just doing well against [North Cross] girls that have been playing throughout their lives.
Q: Is there a person, a coach or a teammate, for example, who pushes you to be better every day?
A: It’s self-motivation, because I’m so focused on my [United States Tennis Association play] and things that are gonna really matter for college, so just pushing myself to have the best results. … But honestly the coaches are just really fun.
Q: What do you feel like your strengths are on the court?
A: Probably power, my baseline game and my serve.
Q: How do you feel like you’ve improved this year?
A: I feel like I’ve improved a lot. … I think probably my backhand has improved, and I’d say my serve and footwork are the main things I’ve improved.
Q: Who is your favorite tennis player?
A: Roger Federer, Serena [Williams] and Eugenie Bouchard. Roger and Serena have just been so consistent and they obviously love the game. … They’re really powerful and just take control of the points. Bouchard, I just really like her. I went to the U.S. Open, and she signed my ball.
Q: If you could meet anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
A: It’d probably be Serena. I really want to meet her.
Q: What would you ask her?
A: Just her training schedule and how she gets so strong. That’d be pretty awesome to have like half the strength of her.
Q: What’s your favorite subject, and what’s your best subject?
A: I would say my best is math, and my favorite is probably English.
Q: What’s your favorite food?
A: So I’m trying to be really healthy this year, but my favorite unhealthy food is probably ice cream.
Q: What’s your favorite restaurant?
A: My favorite restaurant here is probably Millie’s [Living Café] or Crisp.
Q: Aside from playing tennis, do you have any special talents?
A: I did Hula Hoop in a talent show once. It was in elementary school. I don’t have any weird talents, it’s just kind of sports.
Emily Brown covers the Hillcats, ODAC and high school sports for The News & Advance. Reach her at (434) 385-5529.