Athlete of the Week: Sierra Swansiger

Tati Strickland, Reporter

This athlete of the week plays one of the most technical and strategic sports in the world. Sierra Swansiger, a senior at Granada high school has played on the girls varsity tennis team all four years.

Tennis is in Swansiger’s blood, both of her parents play and are involved here at Granada, her dad is the girls varsity tennis coach. “I got into tennis through my dad. He’s been a tennis director my whole life, so I’ve been around tennis my whole life,” said Swansiger.

For over seven years, Swansiger has been on the court gaining skill, and becoming one of the best players on her team. “I played off and on since I was pretty young but started playing a lot in fifth grade.”

Not only does Swansiger play during the fall trimester, but she also competes in matches all year in order to keep training and is continuously working hard. “I do play year round, I go to clinics that my dad does at Granada and Foothill and sometimes he just teaches me one on one.”

Tennis is a world renowned sport, is highly competitive and is number five in the world for most viewed sports. “For a pro tennis player I would say Roger Federer, I’ve always liked the way he played and his attitude on and off the court. My dad is always a role model too, he is a great tennis player and pushes me to be the best I can be.”

Playing in games multiple times a week against some of the best teams can cause a large amount of stress on you and the game you are playing. Being able to overcome fear is a huge award in itself. “Yes this year and last I’ve dealt with a lot of match anxiety and just anxiety in general. It’s something I’m always working on, but I think just staying consistent with showing up to play even when you don’t feel your best and preparing correctly for matches has helped it get more manageable.”

Games and practicing almost every day of the week can be very straining, and tiring but playing a sport you love is worth it. “We play four out of five days of the week, so some days can be busy, but I always enjoy hanging out with the team at practice and matches.”

There are two types of matches in tennis, singles and doubles. Singles matches are generally faster since only one person can hit the ball back. Doubles matches tend to have more long rallies since there are two people to hit the ball. Both matches take time to master how to succeed. With singles you have to balance the endurance of moving around the court, and with doubles you have to learn how to play with a teammate. “I play singles, but I have played doubles a few times for the team as well.”

Although tennis can sometimes be an individual sport, it is extremely important to have a team supporting your matches and hyping you up. “I think teamwork is always a big deal. In singles there isn’t much of it since you’re on your own, but I think putting in your best effort at practice to play as best as you can in the match.”

Stepping up to lead a team as a senior can be very intimidating, but Swansiger has done a terrific job and her fellow matadors make a huge impact on her. “My teammates motivate me to succeed along with my coach who is my dad. They hold me accountable to play my best and keep it fun and not too serious all the time.”

Playing tennis for almost her whole life has given her a chance to grow and compete at a high level. By doing this her skills have vastly improved over time. “I think my greatest strength is my forehand and backhand slice.”

This is Swansigers last season as a Matador tennis player, and there is still room to grow. Swansiger has gained so much from this experience.