ALL ABOUT TENNIS JUNIOR PROFILE
Lauren Stein (Paradise Valley, AZ)
October 3, 2017
In Lauren Stein’ first career junior tennis match back in 2010 at the tender age of eight years old, she was a total deer in the headlights.
She didn’t even know how to keep score at that first event, a junior Level 6 starter tournament in Scottsdale. She cried during the match. She laughed, too. She batted a few balls around. Most of them didn’t quite land where she was aiming.
That morning in Scottsdale one might have thought Stein wasn’t quite yet destined for tennis success. But many tennis stories start out as unforced errors. The true winners come …and develop later.
Fast forward seven years and Stein hasn’t had the need for tears or laughs on the court, and there’s no more spraying of balls. She leaves those things to her opponents.
At the tender age of 15 and hailing from Paradise Valley, Arizona, Stein is now considered one of the top female prospects in the country. ADVERTISEMENT She currently sits atop the Southwest in Girls 16s rankings and she's No. 9 in all of the United States in that division as well, despite splitting her time playing both a busy International Tennis Federation (ITF) and USTA event schedule.
In the last year, she has already logged more international and national flights than a diplomat, making pit stops for tennis events in Canada, Morocco, Costa Rica, Panama, Cuba and Mexico, as well as the usual Southwest and national venues.
Stein puts in her practice time at La Camarilla Racquet, Fitness and Swim Club in Scottsdale, the same club top US pro Bethanie Mattek-Sands also spends a fair amount of time at. Practice has been paying off, for Stein as her results have been coming bigger and bigger in the last year.
Early in 2017, she captured the prestigious USTA Spring International Championships and followed that title up by reaching an ITF junior event final in Newport Beach in both singles and doubles. This summer made a nice run to the quarterfinals of the USTA Girls National Hard Courts. She's also reached the quarterfinals of both the Orange Bowl and the Eddie Herr in late 2016, which was her first year in Girls 16s. It's been an extremely prodcutive last few months, but the best seems far ahead of Stein.
We tracked her down recently to get the low down on how her tennis journey got started and how things are progressing for her.
USTASW: Do you remember how you get started in tennis?
LS: When I was six years old, I tried out just about every sport. Found tennis and at eight years old, I decided to focus on it entirely.
USTASW: What’s been the best tournament experience you’ve had since you began competing?
LS: My best tournament experience since I started competing was Orange Bowl (in Florida) because I was able to compete against all of the top-level girls from different countries.
USTASW: What is your ultimate goal with tennis?
LS: It’s pretty simply. My ultimate goal with tennis is to be the best player I can possibly be.
USTASW: What do you most like to do when you're not playing tennis?
LS: When I’m not playing or practicing, I like to go to the mall with friends or swim and play soccer with my siblings.
USTASW: Who is your favorite tennis professional? What would you do if you were to meet them?
LS: My favorite tennis professional is Jelena Ostapenko (2017 French Open winner). If I were to meet her, I would ask her how it feels to win a Grand Slam so young.
USTASW: How often do you play tennis each week and what do you do to try to keep your practices fun?
LS: I play tennis 5 – 6 times a week and 4 hours a day. I have a good group of friends that I train with, so practices are always fun!
USTASW: Who or what has been your biggest role model or help in learning tennis?
LS: My parents have been my biggest help in tennis because of all the sacrifices they make to send me to tournaments.
USTASW: What's been your best or favorite tennis moment so far in your young career? LS: My favorite tennis moment is competing in different countries like Cuba.
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?
LS: Not that I know of!
Lauren Stein File
*Five-star recruit on TennisRecruiting.Net (Class of 2020)
*Ranked No. 9 in US in Girls 16s USTA Adidas Jr National Rankings (No. 1 in Southwest)
* Winner – 2017 USTA International Spring Championships in Girls 16s
*Finalist in singles and doubles – 2017 Newport Beach ITF
*Quarterfinalist at 2017 USTA National Hard Courts, 2016 Orange Bowl & 2016 Eddie Herr Championships in Girls 16s singles
* USTA Southwest Team Member, Girls 18s National Team Championships (went 5-2)