The problem with attaching labels to things is that the adhesive usually wears off as soon as the object is under a wee bit o’ distress. Well, Angie Walker is a human being, and she’s under a little bit of pressure, but it’s pressure she places on herself.
“I have a tough time defining my playing style, I just know I’m trying to improve,” Angie told me recently. We covered a lot in a half hour, from her excitement about heading to Idaho State in a few months on a tennis scholarship to the difficulty in choosing specific tennis players to help you shape your game.
“I guess I’m just me at the end of the day, you know?”
Absolutely. That’s the best person you can be, after all.
Kelvin: Tell us a little bit about your history playing tennis here at the club.
Angie: I started playing tennis at the age of five. My Dad really influenced me because he’s a tennis player himself. He’s the head pro here at the club. He has been for the past three years so I’ve been training here for the past three years.
Was tennis something that you took to right away or was it something that developed over time?
Well, as a young kid, it probably took a lot of convincing but I think once I really got into it, I enjoyed it a lot and I really loved it.
What are you gearing up for right now?
I’m getting ready to play the summer tournament series. There’s a bunch of open events that I’m going to be playing in this summer. There’s an open at Stanley Park which is a really big tournament. There’s a bunch of different levels in each of the open tournaments, and Stanley Park is probably the best. I’m ranked an 11 in Women’s Open singles, so I can play at Stanley Park. And then there’s one in Burnaby, one in Richmond, and one in Coquitlam.
Tell us about your season up to this point. Specifically where you’ve been training besides the club and what you’ve been working on.
The last year has actually been really crazy for me. I’ve been all over the place. I was training in California. I went to Florida, Washington and Oregon for tennis, to gear up for University and I did really well. I really improved my all around game. Did I answer the question?
Absolutely! Tell me more about the specific areas you want to improve. Everybody wants to get better at everything, but there must be something unique that gives your training a little bit of focus.
Right, sure. I’d say I’ve been concentrating on developing into a more aggressive player on the court. Cause I’m very good at, how do I describe this, I’m very good at staying in the point and not defeating myself. I can start from the point and control the match and limit my mistakes, which is important, but I’m working on getting on the offence more often instead of relying strictly on a counter-strike game.
So you’re good at like playing it safe?
Yeah. Actually, not necessarily safe, but I definitely want to get more aggressive and start using the net more. I’m getting there, plus I’m serving a lot harder too.
Your scholarship - you’re probably a little excited?
(Laughs) I’m very excited!
What’s the recruiting process like?
I made a recruiting video and sent it out to a bunch of coaches at different schools and got some responses from certain coaches and then I got to go on a few recruiting trips. At the end of the day when I went down to Idaho State, it was just the best match for me. I really liked the coach, and I met the team when I was down there and everything seemed to fit perfectly. I liked her coaching style, the girls were just so nice and so that’s why I chose Idaho State.
What was the campus like?
Angie: The campus was really nice. It’s not huge or anything. I think there are 16,000 students so it’s a medium sized school, which was important for me. And it’s very beautiful, the scenery around it when I was down there, it was awesome. It was snowing so I guess it’s going to be cold but it was a really beautiful campus.
Do you feel like you’re far away from Vancouver? It’s not that far away geographically, you could be going to southern California or Florida, or something like that. Is it far enough away?
Honestly, I think it’s perfect. It’s pretty easy to get to.
Right. But not easy enough that your parents aren’t going to be dropping in every two weeks?
They probably will be.
What are you taking in school?
Angie: I’m going to be taking education probably. I want to become an elementary school teacher.
And probably a tennis coach at some point?
Definitely. Um. Maybe. Probably, I don’t know, part time job.
(Laughs) No need to decide now, just go and enjoy the process. What are you looking forward to most now that you’re headed off to college in the fall?
Well, this is what I’ve been training for, now that I think about it, my whole life. Just the thought of going to college is so exciting. And the part I’m looking forward to the most is finally playing team tennis, cause tennis is an individual sport as a junior so I’m really looking forward to being part of a team and enjoying the team aspect and wanting everyone to win as a group. Travelling as a team, that’s probably the most exciting part. It’s no longer an individual sport.
That’s cool. And then all the studying and school work too right?
Oh yeah, sure, that’s the main thing, right?
Angie, on behalf of everyone at the NSWC, congratulations and good luck! Keep us posted, ok?