The Tipton Lakes Athletic Club is in its first year as an official tennis team and already is on its way to Orlando, Florida, for the 14-and-under advanced division of the Junior Team Tennis Nationals at the USTA National Tennis Center.
Ashlie Wilson, Kathryn Wilson, Tiffany Fu, Nathan Lin, Hank Lin and Mathew Liu all were hand picked from the Tipton Lakes tennis club by coach Mary Beth Wilson. Wilson said coaching the six athletes has been a blast for her.
“They’re all really good listeners and taking coaching really well,” Wilson said. “They’re all just really good players, so they’re easy to coach.”
The team started in March playing against local teams before moving on to the sectional. Each state from the Midwest region brings a team to the sectional, and Tipton Lakes represented Indiana. Tipton Lakes lost to a team from Wisconsin for second place in the sectional, but the Wisconsin team was unable to travel to Florida, so Wilson’s team got the chance to go instead.
The team consists of three boys and three girls. The nationals competition format has one singles and one doubles match each for boys and girls, plus one mixed doubles match. Those five matches determine the team’s overall scores.
Some of the locals have been playing tennis for most of their lives, and they are all looking to continue playing as they get closer to the high school level. Wilson said being able to compete against teams from across the nation gives her tennis players more confidence and higher ambitions.
“When you’re able to achieve something like that, you start to have higher goals for yourself,” Wilson said. “It makes you work harder. It gets you excited about your sport and about continuing to play.”
The USTA National Tennis Center has 100 new tennis courts for the players to compete. There will be three guaranteed games, with the first two being played on Friday. The third match will be on the morning of Sept. 23. The playoffs begin that afternoon and will conclude Sept. 24.
Tipton Lakes could possibly be playing about five matches in three days if the team advances to the playoffs. All six kids said they are used to playing multiple games in a short period of time, so the fatigue issue should not affect them as much.
“In the summer we play like six hours a day, so we’re just used to playing for a long period of time,” Ashlie Wilson said.
What: Junior Team Tennis Nationals
When: Friday through Sept. 24
Where: Orlando, Florida
Tipton Lakes’ projected lineup
Boys singles: Nathan Lin
Girls singles: Ashlie Wilson
Boys doubles: Mathew Liu and Hank Lin
Girls doubles: Kathryn Wilson and Tiffany Fu
Mixed doubles: Ashlie Wilson and Nathan Lin