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El Estoque

The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

Time Out! Ep 22: Lucy Yung

Lucy Yung describes the ups and downs of her tennis journey
Michelle Zheng
Junior Lucy Yung prepares to strike the ball at a game in the CCS Finals on Nov. 11, 2023.

CC: Hi everyone, my name is Crystal Cheng and welcome to Episode 22 of Time Out! Each episode, we will be diving into the sports scene here at Monta Vista High School and exploring the journeys of athletes from different sports. In this episode, I am joined by junior Lucy Yung, who is a member of the varsity girls tennis team here at Monta Vista. 

CC: How and when did you start playing tennis? 

LY: I started playing tennis when I was five and I started because my brother was playing so I wanted to copy him.

CC: Have there been any figures in your life that have contributed to your involvement in tennis?

LY: I think there’s my now private coach. He just made tennis really fun for me and seem interesting. So from a young age he made me want to continue doing it.

CC: What does your training routine look like? 

LY: Every Tuesday I go to an hour of fitness, and then I do two hours of group clinic, and Wednesday, I have an hour of a private [lesson]. And then on Fridays I have another hour of private. And I’ll just hit with my friends occasionally.

CC: Does your training routine differ in the weeks leading up to important tournaments and games?

LY: Not really. I might skip a practice the week after a tournament because I’m tired but I don’t really change what I do before a tournament. Or if the tournaments are far away, I’ll have to leave on a Friday afternoon, so I have to skip a Friday private lesson.

CC: How has your schedule changed over the years, in terms of your training schedule?

LY: When I was little, I would go to group clinics three times a week because they were fun. And then as I got better, I started going to more group clinics that were at a higher level. And then, last summer, specifically, I’d spend six hours on court each day and that was not fun, and so I went through a process of doing less and then doing more and then going back to doing less.

CC: How have your feelings towards tennis changed over the years?

LY: When I first started, I liked practicing tennis but I hated competition, because competition just made me really nervous. But then as I competed more, especially with my friends, I got better at it. And now I hate going to practice, like I actually dread going to practice. Well, I dread going to Tuesday practices like the group clinics, but I like my private lessons. I actually really love competition now.

CC: How did you get over your fear of competitions?

LY: I think I just did it more, like when I was first starting out I did like team tennis with my friends and so the fact that my friends were around me made it more palatable. I was more in a more comfortable environment with my friends around.

CC: What have been the highlights of your tennis career so far?

LY: I think it’s definitely winning CCS with the school team. And also getting second place at a doubles level three, because the way tournaments work is that there’s seven levels with seven level seven being the easiest and level one being the hardest like level ones for like juniors who want to go pro. So like getting into finals at level three, it was pretty big.

CC: Have there been any low points? 

LY: Last summer, as I said, I was on court for six hours a day, and then, on weekends, I’d go to tournaments and I would lose every match that I played. So I was like, why am I doing all this work if I’m losing every match that I’m playing? I’m not getting better, if anything, I was getting worse. And I was really irritated with the fact that I was doing so much work for no reward. And so I was like, I don’t really want to do this anymore.

CC: How does playing tennis for MV Girls Varsity differ from playing tennis at the individual tennis tournaments you play at? 

LY: It’s just more of a team environment. So each match, I could play either singles or doubles, and then also I’m surrounded by a team that’s supporting me the whole time. And like, I think honestly, high school tennis is what prevented me from quitting tennis because I like it so much and I like the team environment. And with individual tournaments, if you don’t have friends at the tournament, it gets really lonely and you’re only there for tennis, and you have no social aspect of the sport. And so I think high school tennis just makes it more fun.

CC: How do you manage balancing tennis with school and other activities? 

LY: I think as I progress through high school, I definitely have had to cut down on the amount of tournaments and lessons that I have each week,because I’ve had more schoolwork. Mostly, if I’m at a tournament, and I have tests the next week, I’ll just study at the tournament because there’s always a bunch of downtime. Or if I have really important tests or like finals coming up, I’ll just skip tennis to study.

CC: How has your tennis style changed over the years? 

LY: I hit with a really low margin so I could hit in the net a lot. And that really hasn’t changed. Except I used to be really afraid of coming to the net because I thought I was gonna get whacked in the head with a ball. And so I forced myself to play more doubles and now I actually love doubles and I love being at the net. I think I’d rather be at the net sometimes than play at the baseline.

CC: What are your future plans for tennis after high school? 

LY: I think I definitely want to play college tennis. Like I can’t imagine myself in a situation where I’m not playing college tennis unless I get into UCLA or something, because I’m not good enough to go like DI or DII but I’m already talking to like DIII schools, because DIII, it allows you to have focus more on education while also playing the sport. So I think DIII is a good option for me.

CC: You spoke about the summer when you had to spend six hours on court and how that was a low point for you. Was there any point you seriously considered no longer continuing tennis? 

LY: That summer had put the thought in my mind to quit tennis, but I did it for the school season because school season is in fall. But then after the school season, I was like, what am I doing,  because I didn’t know where I wanted to train because I didn’t want to go back to the place that I was in the summer because it wasn’t helping me. I just didn’t know what I wanted to do and I think that not knowing what I wanted was hard to figure out and what made me want to quit. So early 2024 I was like, “I don’t want to do this anymore.”

CC: Are there any misconceptions about tennis that you want to address?

LY: One, that it’s a gentleman’s sport. Tournaments can get so cutthroat, like I’ve heard a girl on court call her opponent… like she said, “Are you stupid?” to her opponent after her opponent made a bad line call. Girls can get so rude and obnoxious to each other, because also, at Junior tournaments, you don’t have lines-people so you have to make your own calls. And so people cheat a lot. No one’s actually nice to each other, unless you’re friends with each other. The competitive spirit really gets the best of people.

CC: On that note, is there anything you wish was different about your sport? 

LY: I think it’s just like the comparison between people because I remember I was at this tournament and one of my friends was doing really good, and one of my other friends she like lost in like the second round or something, and she was like, “God, I remember when I was better than” the other friend who was like continuing winning. I was like, at some point I feel like all of us were better than our friends, or they were better than us and it keeps going back and forth. But I got over that and I didn’t care if my friends were better than me or not, but like other people haven’t.

CC: That’s it for Episode 22 of Time Out! Thank you so much to Lucy for joining me on this episode. I’m Crystal and thanks for tuning in. 

About the Contributor
Crystal Cheng
Crystal Cheng, Opinion Editor
Crystal Cheng is currently a senior and an Opinion editor for El Estoque. In her free time, she enjoys playing the piano, annihilating Stardew Valley and bullet journaling.
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