ALL ABOUT TENNIS JUNIOR PROFILE
MISA MALKIN (TUCSON, AZ)
November 14, 2017
ALL ABOUT TENNIS JUNIOR PROFILE (Misa Malkin - Tucson, Ariz.)
USTASW: How did you get started in tennis?
MM: I got started in tennis when my dad and I walked to our neighborhood courts and saw two boys rallying. One boy was Yash Parikh, 8 years old, and the other was his little brother, Harsh. We were still living in Japan at that time, but I knew when we moved to the States permanently, I wanted to play tennis.
We finally moved back a year later when I was 6 years old, which was when I started.
USTASW: What has been your best tournament experience since you started competing?
MM: My most memorable tournament experience was when I was 9 years old and played Winter Nationals in the Girl’s 12s. I was such an underdog that I felt no stress at all. I was just so happy to be playing against big girls that I looked up to.
USTASW: What was your very first USTA tournament? How old were you? How did you feel approaching the match?
MM: I was about 8 years old when I played in my first USTA tournament but I don’t exactly remember. I was never nervous back then because most of the girls were much older and much stronger. All I did was play defense and tried my best to return every ball. I don’t think I ever hit a single winner. Back then we played full court with a yellow ball, even at age 8, so it was more challenging for those of us who were tiny.
MM: What is your ultimate goal with tennis?
MM: My ultimate goal with tennis is to be able to get a tennis scholarship in a highly competitive conference.
USTASW: What do you most like to do when you're not playing tennis?
MM: When I am not playing tennis, I like to do contemporary dance, photography, and travel with my family.
USTASW: Who is your favorite tennis professional? What would you do if you were to meet them?
MM: My favorite professional tennis player is Simona Halep. If I were to meet her I would I would want to go do something other than tennis with her so I could see the real Simona.
USTASW: How often do you play tennis each week and what do you do to try to keep your practices fun?
MM: I play tennis 6 days a week. To keep my practices fun, I have a variety of hitting partners. I also have a wide variety of strength and conditioning exercises I do. This way I never get bored. My dad, who still coaches me, introduces a lot of really difficult games and drills to make sure I’m challenged and pushed to my limit.
It can be tough at times because I’m not in an academy so I rarely take group lessons. However, one day a week, I try to travel up to Phoenix and play with Coach Mike McKay and his fun group of really great players. In Tucson, Coach Benny Morentin has given me a lot of encouragement and always puts a big smile on my face no matter how hard he pushes me.
USTASW: Who or what has been your biggest role model or help in learning tennis?
MM: My biggest male role model is my dad who has been my main coach for as long as I can remember. He has helped me with every aspect of my game, especially footwork, strength and conditioning.
My biggest female role model was Lacey Smythe, who played number one at Arizona for four years. She was my hitting partner when I was in sixth grade. She taught me the value of working very hard and staying focused. She is so small (5’1”) but so powerful.
USTASW: Do you have any odd quirks or rituals on the court, like bouncing a ball five times before a serve or not walking on the lines?
MM: When I am on the court, I bounce the ball three times before I serve.
USTASW: What's been your best or favorite tennis moment so far in your young career?
MM: My favorite moment so far was when I was eight years old and playing a USTA tournament. We were playing full-court yellow ball.
My opponent tried to hit an overhead and the ball got stuck in the throat of her racket. Neither of us realized it and we both searched for the ball high and low. My dad let us search for a while then, when he had stopped laughing, told us to look at her racket… and there it was. She is one of my best friends now and today we still laugh about it.
Misa Malkin File
- Currently ranked No. 6 in Girls' 16s in Southwest (
- Girls singles 16s winner, Mike Agassi No Quit Level 3 Championships
- USTA Southwest Intersectionals 16s team member in 2017
- Girls 16s doubles winner, 2017 USTA Southwest Junior Closed
- Has played more than 500 junior matches in her career (66% winning history)
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