After an intense practice or match, Christine Xu of the junior varsity tennis team, recalls her favorite memories as hanging out with the other girls because it allows them to bond without having to worry about tennis.
Competition is not what draws her to the sport, the close interactions and the ambiance of the team is.
“I like playing tennis with my friends and having a nice chill day just rallying, but playing matches are a good experience since I don’t take outside lessons and play tournaments,” said Xu.
She doesn’t compete in tennis outside of school, but simply enjoys this sport that allows her to connect with friends and be surrounded by people who support each other.
Xu’s was not always this passionate about tennis. Two years after she started playing in fourth grade, she decided that she “just didn’t feel like it, and after my sister graduated, I didn’t want to play even more,” Xu recalled. Since her sister, Shuyin Xu, was a star on the Trojan varsity tennis team, the expectation from her parents and coaches were that she would continue to play too.
When she got to high school, and was bombarded by coaches constantly asking why she didn’t come out to practice with her sister, she decided that she would work to escape her sister’s shadow. Picking up the racket once again, she resumed playing tennis her freshman year to do exactly this.
Working towards that goal, she aims to “just relax and stay calm during a match or a challenge–to take breaths, focus without letting the pressure get to my head, and play the way I do when I’m playing with friends,” said Xu.
Her mantra is simply to focus, pretend like it’s any other practice, and play her hardest.