Lessons learned

What’s your reaction to earning the No. 1 singles spot?

“It has been extremely exciting for me. I was hoping lessons would help, but I wasn’t sure how much I’d improve. I’m just very excited for the season to start to see what’s to come next.”

What made you want to take private lessons for the first time in your life?

“Well, I only started playing tennis my freshman year. I did it just for fun.

And my sophomore year I played basketball, too, and I’m really into academics, so I didn’t really have time for (private lessons). But, after sophomore year, I decided that since I was only on JV in basketball and varsity in tennis, I would focus on working on my skills in tennis.”

“I started taking private lessons in November and played in probably five tournaments over the winter.

“I played against a lot of girls from Carmel and girls from other big-time schools like that. I think playing against them is what got me to the level I am at today.”

How did you do against them?

“To be honest, I really didn’t win that much (laughs). Throughout the course of it, though, I got better and more confident. In the beginning, I would get really nervous and tense and I wouldn’t play that well.

“But about (midway through), I saw myself not doing that anymore. Playing against those girls helped me. It helped me get over that fear of hitting it out all of the time.”

Where have you seen the biggest improvement in your game?

“I think my consistency has really gotten better. I used to be really wild, but during lessons I got (control) of my shot. I have also learned how to play singles. I played doubles last year, so playing singles was weird for me. I had to learn how to play against one person and not have someone backing me up.”

What would say is the strongest part of your game?

“I would say my cross-court forehands are my best shot. I’ve really been working on those this past week and the week of spring break. I think being left-handed, those shots tend to go to right-handed people’s back hand, which they are not going to get as much.”

The weakest?

“I’m working to improve my serve. It’s just a little too … It’s not fast enough. I really want to hit it harder. I think I need to improve that. It’s just going to take repetition. It’s going to take me staying after practice and hitting 50 serves.”

Mt. Vernon is the defending Hancock County and sectional champion. Your coach has said the team’s mission is to win both again. What are your individual goals for the year?

“My end goal is to win sectionals, but I guess that’s everyone’s main goal (laughs). I just want to set an example for my teammates. I want to show that hard work can pay off.”