Home-schooled tennis star earns major honors

Home-schooled tennis star earns major honors


Home-schooled tennis star earns major honors



Bruce and Breita Daavettila’s daughters play tennis – and they play it well.

They are Sara 14, Sophie 11, Sadie 7, and Selena 5.

“We all play tennis,” Sophie explained, but Sara is the best.” Ironically, the sisters aren’t particularly well known in their home town due to the fact they are all home-schooled.

Sara’s victory last month in Grand Rapids Girls 18 division was in a field that included some of the best players in the state. Throughout the tournament she pulled off four tiebreakers finally to defeat Adorabol Huckleby 6-4, 6-0 in the finals.

Alex Palladino, the tournament director, said, “Sara is an outstanding competitor and an absolute pleasure to watch on the court. She combines a unique blend of aggressive play with a steady mental game that sharpens to its peak at the most intense moments of competition. Her mature eye to maintain determination whether playing from ahead or behind. To capitalize on any moment of weakness from her opponent. Equally as impressive as her play is her consistent demonstration of grace, sportsmanship and respect for the efforts of her opponents. She is an inspirational young player, and well deserving of her recent successes.”

Sara was the number-one player in the Midwest in girls 14s division, champion of girls 16s designated in which the top 64 girls in the Midwest competed for this title, champion of girls 14s national level 1, winning two rounds in a pro qualifying event held in Midland, and was the youngest player there and WMTA player of the year.

“I am very busy,” said Sara, “especially now that I’m a ninth grader. I practice 1 1/2 to 2 hours a day and off court training daily. In addition I have homework and music practice.”

With her Mom as her coach and just recently having a baby boy, she has spent most of her time hitting on a ball machine on her home court. Inside they play at Court One Athletic Club. Sara has also helped her younger sister Sadie on the court. Sadie has won a couple tournaments already and is having a lot of fun.

Sara’s advise to young athletes: “Always work your hardest in practice, don’t put emphasis on winning, winning will come later, find a coach that is positive and is willing to watch you play, have short and long term goals and gather as much information to improve your game from coaches and other great players and use what is prudent.”


More USA TODAY High School Sports