ALL ABOUT TENNIS JUNIOR PROFILE: GIANNA PIELET
Jeff Sikes | February 23, 2017
El Paso, Texas’ Gianna Pielet has been one of the foremost young tennis players in the country since she began picking up a racquet at the age of five. Fast forward almost a decade and the-now 14-year-old Pielet already needs another room in her house for all the trophies she’s collected since she began playing. If Pielet continues on the torrid path she’s been on in the foreseeable future, she’s going to need more room to contain all those trophies. Much much more room.
Pielet’s father Doug was himself a top junior player and national champion, who making the USTA Junior Davis Cup squad in 1983, and had a solid college career at the University of Texas in the mid 1980s. In college, Doug’s Longhorns squad twice reached the NCAA quarterfinals. Doug gave it a go on the pro tour for a short while as well, before settling into life as a teaching professional in South Carolina after college. ADVERTISEMENT Doug taught in Greer, South Carolina for almost two decades, getting Gianna started at their home base at the Thornblade Club. Gianna was a frequent winner at junior stops all throughout South Carolina and the Southern Section, and even captured the Little Mo Nationals title in 2011 (at nine years old), one of the sport’s top titles for young players under the age of 10.
The Pielet clan relocated to El Paso from South Carolina in the summer of 2013 after he landed the Director of Tennis gig at the El Paso Country Club, and Gianna has continue her winning ways in the Southwest, reaching the top spot in Girls 12s, 14s and 16s, to go along with other lofty national rankings (No. 1 in the nation in 12s, No. 2 in 14s).
Gianna has already played nearly 1200 matches in her junior career, and is noted as one of the top match players in the country in any age group. Her tenacity and fiery attitude on court has served her well at the national level already, where she’s won two gold balls age group titles in singles (Winter Nationals 12s – 2014 and Girls 14s Hard Courts 2016) as well as an international title last fall at the prestigious Eddie Herr ITF event in the 14s division.
We recently caught up with Gianna to get her thoughts on her junior career so far, and what more she hopes to have in store:
USTASW: How did you get started in tennis?
GP: My dad (Doug Pielet) was the Director of Tennis in South Carolina and I just started playing in his junior program around the age of 5.
USTASW: Do you remember your very first tournament? How old were you? How did you feel approaching the match? How did you feel playing in your first Southwest Tournament when you moved here?
GP: My first tournament I played in was a 10 & under tournament (The South Carolina Junior Challenger). I was barely 7 years old. I was excited to play and ended up getting 2nd place. In my first Southwest tournament, I was very excited to be able to play new players.
USTASW: So what’s been your best tournament experience since you started competing?
GP: I’d probably say that my best tournament experience was when I won my first gold ball with Caty McNally in Doubles when I was 11 years old.
USTASW: So what is the ultimate goal with tennis?
GP: My biggest goal with tennis would be to someday be able to play professional tennis.
USTASW: What do you most like to do when you’re not playing tennis?
GP: When I’m not playing tennis, I like to play basketball and dance.
USTASW: Who is your favorite tennis professional? What would you do if you were to meet them?
GP: My favorite tennis professional is Roger Federer. If I were to meet him, I would have him sign my hat and take pictures with him.
USTASW: How often do you play tennis each week and what do you do to try to keep your practices fun?
GP: I practice Monday through Saturday each week. We play some fun games to mix the practice up.
USTASW: Who or what has been your biggest role model or help in learning tennis?
GP: My dad has been my biggest role model in tennis. He was a National Champion himself and played junior tennis at the highest level. He knows pretty much what I go through because he has been there himself.
What’s been your best or proudest tennis moment so far in your young career?
GP: It was when I won my first International Tournament- Eddie Herr International Tournament Girl’s 14 in Bradenton, Florida last year. That was a pretty amazing moment so far.
GIANNA PIELET FILE
- Won the Little Mo Nationals in 2011
- Moved to El Paso in summer of 2013
- Played almost 1200 matches in her junior career
- Has been ranked No. 1 in the country in Girls 12s and 14s
- Winner of USTA Winter Nationals Girls 12s (2014), Girls 14s Hard Courts (2016), Eddie Herr International Tennis Federration Girls 14s Singles title (2016)
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