Rivalries, Friendships and Everything In Between
With Philadelphia's Saige Roshkoff
November 5, 2018
Rivalries, Friendships and Tennis
Rivalries, Friendships and Tennis
Saige Roshkoff competed in a tennis match a few years ago that she remembers well. It wasn’t a tournament final (she’s played in plenty, by the way) and it wasn’t for a high school state championship.
It was memorable, though, for a different reason.
“I remember playing a very good friend,” she said. “We had a long, competitive match and, when it was over, she gave me a big hug at the net. I don’t remember who won or lost, but I do remember the great feeling knowing that our friendship off the court was as strong as our competition on the court.”
That feeling is one that Roshkoff and many other players are experiencing regularly, as junior tennis continues to produce a unique atmosphere of close friendship and competition between players.
Now 16, Roshkoff is one of the top-ranked juniors in Middle States. ADVERTISEMENT She began playing tennis at 4 and competed in her first tournament at 8. Since then, she’s played in local and national events and competed at some of the highest levels of the junior game. In recent years she’s played on Middle States Zonal Teams, and also competed in the National Spring Team Championships, and on the USTA Middle States Intersectional Team.
That’s all in addition to competing for Harriton High School, where Roshkoff has been a star. A week after winning the PIAA 3A State Championship, Roshkoff and teammate Sophia Sassoli won the state doubles title.
“These team events have a whole different atmosphere, compared to other tournaments,” she said. “Everyone is supporting each other and playing for the team, and not just themselves. I love being able to cheer on my teammates and have fun.”
She added that competing in team events has her even more excited to pursue her goal of competing in college.
“I’ve met most of my close friends through tennis, and even some of my friends from school play tennis for fun,” she said. “Tennis friends are the best. We understand each other and how tough of a sport it is. When I meet someone who plays tennis, we instantly share a connection and can relate to one another.”
It’s inevitable that at times, friends will have to compete. Roshkoff’s attitude toward facing off against friends is as positive as they come.
“When I have to play a friend in a match, I leave the relationship off the court and focus on playing my hardest,” she said. “I always want to win and play my best, so I can’t let anything distract me from my goal. But once the match is over and we shake hands or hug at the net, our friendship will pick up right where we left off.”
Opposing players, coaches, parents and tournament directors recognize Roshkoff’s tremendous attitude. And in addition to being noticed for her great attitude, she was recently awarded with the 2017 USTA Middle States Junior Most Improved Player Award for her age category.
Her work in the classroom, as a player and as a community volunteer, has turned her into a model for many younger players.
Regardless of her success, Roshkoff remains hungry and is setting new goals.
“Playing tennis has taught me discipline, motivation and a strong work ethic,” Roshkoff said. “I like pushing myself to be the best that I can be.”
Learn more about junior competition opportunities by reading about USTA Tournaments.