junior Nneka Onyejiaka makes it look easy on the tennis court.
Whenever she needs to make a shot, she’ll not only make it, but she’ll befuddle her opponent in the process.
In her 6-0, 6-0 win at the Trojan Invite on Sept. 17 at Downers Grove North, it wasn’t a question of whether she could win, but by how much.
Off the court, she is soft-spoken and touted by coaches as a model student athlete — and even further, a person.
She is Bolingbrook’s Athlete of the Week.
How long have you played tennis? I’ve been playing since I was 10, but that was with my mom. Eventually, I got lessons.
So your mom was an inspiration? My mom got the whole family into tennis, basically. My brother and sister play a little, and they’re pretty good, but they’re not as good as me because they haven’t had lessons like I have.
So you caught the tennis bug? Mm-hmm. Yeah, I did.
What’s the strongest part of your tennis game? Of course, I’d say my forehand. I’m also good at approach shots, making points.
And what do you think you can improve on? My serve wasn’t too good, but I practiced it more and more over the summer, getting my shot and my swing down. It still needs some work, but I’m getting better.
Do you have a favorite tennis player for men’s and women’s? I admire Serena Williams, even though she loses her temper sometimes. She definitely stands out. It’s amazing how she can be losing and come all the way back and win. For the men’s, Novak Djokovic. He’s beaten Rafael Nadal so many times and I was so excited when he beat him at the U.S. Open.
Do you prefer singles or doubles play? I avoid doubles whenever I can. I mean, yeah, I can play it, but I prefer singles. I’ve been playing that since I was 10.
Any thoughts about playing tennis in college? If I’m asked, I’ll accept. Right now, I’m working on getting my way to state so the colleges can see me. We’ll see what happens.
Final question ... how many tennis shoes and rackets do you go through in a year? (Laughing) I don’t break my rackets, but I do break the strings every three months or so, so four times a year. Shoes: I go through them twice a year. I end up getting a hole in the big toe.