Senior sentimental as tennis ends

Senior sentimental as tennis ends

Jasmin Gonzalez , Sports Co-editor

Endings can be powerfully good or terribly bad, and when we refer to sport endings, they can be even stronger: the buzzer beating win or the last second loss. But a common ending for all high school athletes is their last season, their senior year. Star athlete Diann Villamena, a senior tennis player, shared her story about tennis coming to an end.

“I tried out for tennis because coming into high school,” explains senior Diann Villamena. “I wanted to participate in a sport. I didn’t like running or swimming, competitively, so cross country or joining the swim team wasn’t in the picture. I also really like volleyball, so I was thinking about trying out for it but I did that in middle school, and I wanted to try something new. Most lifelong sports like biking, running, and swimming are about beating the clock and getting a better time. In tennis, you’re really competing against your opponent.” According to Villamena, everything that she was looking for was found in tennis.

In the beginning, Villamena knew little about the sport. “I was paired up with someone I’ve never played before to be my doubles partner. She also has never played doubles, so this whole thing was new for both of us.” Villamena started to look for outside inspiration. “I also didn’t have any role models when it came to this sport, but ever since I started to play I tried watching the US Open, the French Open, and the Australian Open. Watching pros play influenced me to try harder and become a better player.”

She had hoped for a dramatic finished, “to get 1st or 2nd place this year in conference,” but came up short. The lesson for her is to focus on growth. She said, “I did improve on my serves and my volleys which have been so much better. I was really focusing. Before each match, I’d warm up with my partner by doing ground strokes and serving. I always felt nervous, but I would do my best to keep my mind positive.”

And what she’ll take moving forward is the friendships.

“[On Senior Night,] It actually hit me that the season is coming to an end, and the end of my high school tennis career.  It was a great opportunity for team bonding, and I realized how close I’ve really gotten with the team.”