Student-Athlete Profile: Sophia Bannon
Name: Sophia Bannon
Position: Captain #1 Singles Player
1. When did you start playing this sport? What got you interested in the sport?
I actually started playing when I was about six or seven, but I was really bad at it so I stopped until I was about fourteen years old. I stayed at my cousin’s house in Pennsylvania for two weeks and they were insanely good at tennis. They were some of the top tournament players in their region and had private coaches, lessons, and the whole shabang: I thought it was the coolest thing in the world! So, I started playing like crazy, and here I am, captain of the varsity team and one of the top players!
2. What is your favorite part of playing this sport?
My favorite part is how individual it is. While doubles players have partners, I prefer singles because it’s all a mental game and I only have myself to rely on. It’s never ‘my partner is bringing my game down’ or ‘they’re the only reason why we’re winning.’ If I win, it’s on me, and if I lose, it’s on me too.
3. How much work have you put into this sport? How often do you practice?
When I was fourteen, I began devoting my summers to playing tennis. I spent almost five hours a day on the courts. Tennis became a year-round sport: I participated in tournaments, joined a local tennis team, got private lessons, and played at a clinic three times a week. Not to mention I did summer camp five days a week from 9am-12pm. I had such a craving to get better and I still do. During the season I don’t want to overwork myself too much so I usually just do the team practices, matches, and clinics on the side.
4. What is your crowning achievement in this sport? What are you most proud of?
In my neighborhood, tennis is a big deal and we have tournaments year-round, and last August, I won Teen’s Girls’ Doubles, Mixed Doubles(with my cousin), and Girls Singles. I am most proud of my improvement over the past two years, from not even being able to hit a ball to hitting winners past experienced players. I am just really happy and proud that my effort is paying off.
5. What do you hope to accomplish in the future? Do you plan to continue playing in college?
If I can get to even Division 3, that would be a dream. I have a whole year left to go, and I have no idea how much effort or time I am going to devote to this sport, so we’ll just have to wait and see!
6. Who’s your favorite athlete and why?
Naomi Osaka!! She is my favorite tennis player of all time, and currently, she is ranked #2 in the WORLD. I love her because she is the nicest, most humble, and shyest girl but she fights hard. She doesn’t scream or play dirty to win, she just plays her game and is focused. I follow her game constantly and she seems like such a sweet person with incredible talent.
7. What do you think you could improve on and why?
Right now, it’s my forehand. I have always had a stronger backhand, but I want my forehand to improve a lot and that will just mean changing my form. As well as gaining more experience, playing against players of all levels and obtaining strategies for each opponent.
8. What are your favorite qualities in a teammate?
My favorite qualities in a teammate are being supportive, nice, and just trying their hardest. I’ve come across players who purposely try to lose, outshine everyone, or just have a bad attitude, and I don’t think that’s right when creating a team bond. Also, side note, a really good teammate in tennis will always cheer for you, but never during a point(so you don’t get distracted!)