The Panther spoke with senior Stephanie Levine, co-captain of Palmetto’s Girls Varsity Tennis team (alongside senior Emma Peterson), to discuss their victories of the season and the passion behind playing.
TP: What inspires you to play tennis?
SL: I am inspired to play tennis because of the focus and dedication it takes to be an athlete. I love being able to go out to the courts after a long day of school and train for an upcoming tournament. I believe the hard work it takes to be both a student and athlete is remarkable and I feel overwhelmed with pride that I can classify myself as a scholar athlete. I am inspired by students who spend hours training for their sport and can reach such high levels at a young age, while maintaining their school work. They inspire me to keep working hard in both areas and demonstrate that hard work and dedication are the main components to success.
TP: What is your favorite part about playing tennis?
SL: My favorite part about tennis is the competition and reliance on oneself. There is an unwavering need to compete in tennis, no matter the score or the pressure you feel. On the court, it’s just you against your opponent- win or lose. I love feeling confident in myself and working hard to win each point. The best feeling is when you get in the “zone” and allow your competitive nature to take over, fueling your desire to win and pushing you to play at your very best.
TP: How were you introduced to the sport?
SL: Both of my brothers and my sister play tennis, so they introduced the sport to me at a very young age. When I was little, I used to pick up my brother’s old tennis racket and hit the ball against my garage. After seeing my siblings fall in love with the sport, I wanted to play as well. It’s a family sport.
TP: What lessons has tennis taught you over the years?
SL: I have learned that it takes a great deal of effort, determination, and time to maintain a high level of rigor in athletics. Tennis has fostered a hardworking mindset that I will carry on throughout my life. My perseverance and competitive nature on the tennis court have taught me to always keep my sights set on my ultimate goals and keep on motivating myself. Similar to a tennis match, I never give up hope for a victory until I am shaking my opponent’s hand at the end of the match. Through tennis, I have learned to push both my body and mind to its maximum potential. My training as an athlete helps me maintain focus and discipline in all areas of my life and makes me a better student in the classroom. I believe my role as an athlete will lead me to attain anything I set my mind to because just like tennis, a strong mind and positive attitude will lead you to victory.
TP: What was the highlight of this season?
SL: The highlight of the season was the State competition. We placed second overall as a team and I placed second individually in my draw. We all came together as a team and really motivated each other to play well. There was a lot of clapping, cheering, and Panther spirit during each match and it definitely made the whole team proud to represent Palmetto. From district, regional, and GMAC champs to an undefeated season, we have had an amazing season and I could not have asked for a better way to end my senior year.