Olympia High senior Amira Tijani was born and raised in Helsinki, Finland. She moved to the United States during her sophomore year, and that’s when she started studying at Olympia and joined the tennis team. Despite being on the JV team, Tijani participated in a varsity tournament against Oak Ridge High March 31. She won her match with a score of 6-0, which contributed toward the team’s victory over the Eagles, 7-0.
What got you into tennis?
I started tennis when I was around 5 years old. I just started for fun, because my mom wanted me to play tennis. … Back in sixth grade, I started again, because I really enjoyed it. Since then, I’ve been playing it recreationally, and then I joined the team here.
What do you love about playing tennis?
I just love the sport as a whole. It’s just something I really enjoy to do. It’s fun, you also learn, and I love seeing myself getting better.
How do you prepare for a match — both before and during the match?
I try to get in a good meal. I leave school at noon, so I have a whole three hours, so I can eat, drink plenty of water and rest. Sometimes, I take a nap, and I just mentally prepare myself, get my stuff ready, get dressed. During the game, I try not to be too negative. I try to be the type of player to push myself and try to keep a positive mindset.
What’s your favorite movie?
“Tomorrow, When the War Began.” It’s a very interesting movie, based in Australia. Very nice movie.
What Netflix series are you watching right now?
I would definitely say “Grey’s Anatomy.” My favorite season is maybe the first one, because nothing bad had happened.
What’s your favorite hobby?
I just play tennis and read. I have AP Literature, so they force us to read books for that class. So the last book I read is “Wuthering Heights.” I like to study; it’s a weird thing. I like learning and reading.
If you could have a superpower, which one would it be?
Maybe invisibility. I like to sometimes exist but at the same time keep it quiet, so I can see things without drawing attention.
What’s your favorite thing about being a part of your team?
Definitely the teammates. It’s just like a big family. It feels nice to have a part of my life here.
How would you describe your team’s culture?
It’s very good. I am friends with a lot of the teammates. We try to be as supportive as possible, especially during the games. Everybody sits and immerse themselves into watching the games; it’s really fun.
When did you join the team here at Olympia?
I joined in tenth grade, when I moved here from Finland.
What type of music do you listen to?
I listen to a lot of R&B and like rap, pop — the basics. But definitely R&B — that’s my main thing.
What would you like to study in college?
I am going to do biomedical science, so I’m going to be a pre-med student. Getting into medical school is my main focus.
What college are you going to attend?
I chose to go to the University of Central Florida.
What do you prefer: pasta or pizza?
It depends. They are both good. I definitely love pizza, but I definitely love pasta more. I’m indecisive. I think I would definitely say pasta.
What’s your favorite chocolate?
There’s that one Lindt chocolate at Publix, that’s the one I eat so far. But actually my favorite one is this chocolate from Finland; it’s a company called Fazer. It’s a very good chocolate company but they don’t sell it here. So, Lindt is the second closest.
Tea or coffee?
It changes, actually. I used to love tea more, but with school and stuff I drink more coffee now. So, I would say coffee, just because it give you more energy than tea.
Starbucks or Dunkin’?
Starbucks. I get a caramel latte, sometimes with a double shot if I feel that I need that extra energy.
What are three thing you focus on during a match?
I try to get my serves in. I try to focus on taking it one point at a time, and also being persistent. Even if I’m down like 5-0, I try to just keep going.
What’s your favorite Harry Potter movie?
The fourth one, where they play the games. I have the book series I got for my birthday, (the books) are still waiting for me to read them. I have the original children looking ones.
What Hogwarts house would you be?
I always say Ravenclaw because they are the calm and studious one. Obviously, I would also like to be Gryffindor because it’s Harry Potter’s house, but I am more of a Ravenclaw.
What do you like to do during the weekends?
I like to spend time with my family and my friends. Lately I’ve been just chilling, haven’t been working. But usually I work the weekends. So I work, come home, sleep and then do homework.
What do you enjoy most, playing singles or doubles?
Lately, I’ve been enjoying doubles. Usually I am more of a singles player. It depends, I think, on the teammate you are playing with. So I enjoy both equally, it depends on what day we are playing and what school we are playing (against).