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Valerie Marshall

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Valerie Marshall, Tennis Star

By Emma Westerhof-Shultz

Sentry Staff Reporter

Q: Was there a particular person or event that introduced you to tennis as a sport and inspired you to play?

A: “My parents both played Division 1 tennis in college, and they introduced it to me. At first I didn’t really like it, but later I really got into it and started playing a lot.”

Q: Why are women’s sports like tennis important now more than ever in the world?

A: “After Title Nine was created women’s sports finally got more recognition. It is crucial that we keep the momentum up because I know that we tend to watch more football and basketball- typically men’s sports. I think that a lot of people follow women’s tennis. It’s a great sport and I think it deserves more attention and support.”

Q: What should everyone know about tennis? Are there any common misconceptions about the sport?

A: “Tennis is really fun and it is a lot more strategic than people might think. When you play different opponents you have to have different strategies and tricks. You have to be willing to change your game up. Flexibility is one of the most important qualities in tennis. It’s not just hitting a ball over a net.”

Q: How has tennis improved your ability to be a team-player? How have you grown to become more independent and self-confident?

A: “For team tennis, you build relationships and friendships from all over the state. Tennis is often viewed as an individual sport, but in doubles you have to have amazing communication skills and really work with your partner while playing the net. When you play individually, it’s all on you to do well. I like both styles for different reasons. I’ve learned to work with my partner through our mistakes.”

Q: What is a favorite memory you have from tennis season?

A: “The Washington-Lee match was a thrill. It was really close, and we won at the very end. I prefer challenging games to easy wins. They demand more from you as an athlete. That was my favorite moment this season.”

Q: What do you plan to do during the summer related to tennis? What will you gain?

A: “I’ll be doing a lot of camps and tournaments over the summer. During the school year it is a little more difficult to find time to compete in so much. Camp is always fun and I know I will learn a lot that I can bring back at the start of school.”

Q: Do you hope to pursue tennis as a future career?

A: “I hope to play tennis in college, although playing in the pro-tour is really hard. If you aren’t in the top one hundred, your profit doesn’t exceed your spending and you can’t really make a living off of it. At this point, I would love to play for the William and Mary tennis team. They have an amazing facility and I love the atmosphere there.”

Q: How do you balance school work and sports? What tips do you have for student athletes?

A: “I always chunk up my time. Some people play tennis every day. When it isn’t tennis season, I can plan around days when I don’t have practice and do any big projects or homework assignments. Really it is about finding a balance that works for you. We are all different, so remember to make it a fun time.”

Q: What goals do you have for yourself as a tennis player?

A: “I have been dreaming of going to this summer tournament called Zonals. It is a team-tennis style formed from the highest ranking people from each team. I think I will qualify this year and I am super excited.”

Q: What color was your first racket?

A: “My first adult tennis racket was black and green. But my first tennis racket ever was probably some cheesy princess racket with pink and girly stuff on it. It’s been a long time since that point thankfully.”

Featured Image by Libby Boda

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Valerie Marshall