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Southwest Orange Wednesday, Jul. 31, 2019 8 months ago

West Orange Observer: Sports Spotlight — Sasha Vallabhaneni

A rising seventh grader at Windermere Prep, Sasha Vallabhaneni played her first tennis season as a Laker in her sixth-grade year.
by: Troy Herring Sports Editor

The game of tennis has been a part of Sasha Vallabhaneni’s life since she was 6 years old. The rising seventh grader at Windermere Prep trains with Orlando Tennis Academy and played her first year of tennis as a Laker last season. 


When did you first get into tennis?

We had a tennis coach come to my neighborhood — she was teaching a girl, and I said, “I want to do that.”


What’s been your favorite thing about playing tennis?

I just like how it’s a sport that you can play for a long time. I like everything about it, I guess. I like playing single sports — I don’t like playing team sports.


What’s the hardest thing about playing tennis?

My backhand. It’s just not my best thing to do. In a game I can do backhand, but it’s just not the best of my strokes.


Is there a moment that stands out for you?

When I was playing a match, it was the sixth set and I was down 4-1 and I came back up and won the game. That’s what I like about it — even if you’re really not doing well, you can still win the game, even if it’s 5-1. You can always change the game anytime.


What are the best words of advice you’ve been given when it comes to tennis?

Don’t think about the opponent on the other side, just worry about you and your technique, and pretend that you’re just playing with a coach and you’ll be fine. If you think there is an opponent there, it can make you more nervous.


Last season was your first year on the Windermere Prep tennis team. How did that go?

It was fun — I really liked going to games and practices with all the other girls and guys. It was really fun.


What was your favorite thing that you took away from last season?

I really got to know — especially the girl I played doubles with — how each other person plays and really helped each other. If someone was not so good at something, then someone else would step in and help, and we are all always very supportive of each other.


Is there anything going into next season that you’re looking to work on?

I’m more of a singles person than a doubles, so my doubles is not the best, because I’m always with a different person. I feel like I could work better with my partner in doubles, so if I can get a good partner and we really understand what both of us are good at, then we can really work it out and win some games.


Do you have any goals for yourself?

I started this game as just something I did as a hobby, and now I’m playing it as an actual sport and going to competitions and everything. I would like to play a lot more games and be consistent.


What do you like to do in your spare time?

I mean I do tennis a lot, and I also play another sport — I also do swimming — so those two occupy most of my time. But I like playing with my dog and playing with friends.


Troy Herring is the sports editor at the West Orange Times and Windermere Observer. He is a graduate of the University of Mount Olive (BS '12) and the University of Alabama (MA '16)....

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