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The Drill: Kill didn't plan to play tennis; now she's taking on the best

Anna Kill is the No. 1 singles player for the Worthington Trojans girls tennis team. (Tim Middagh/The Globe)

WORTHINGTON -- Anyone who plays tennis knows that it’s not just a matter of seeing the ball and hitting it. The mental game may be even more important than the physical game.

Anna Kill has only been playing tennis for four years, and yet the Worthington High School senior has risen to become the No. 1 singles player on the team.

Playing No. 1 singles is a big challenge because you’re not only playing singles. That is, winning or losing depends only upon your own abilities -- you’re also playing the other team’s best player.

Kill, who is also a sprinter in track and field, says the most difficult thing she’s experienced as a tennis player is the mental game. A successful player has to stay focused on every point, and to think too much about past mistakes can only make matters worse. Her head coach, Mike Marquardt, has encouraged Kill -- and her teammates -- that part of a player’s focus requires determining which strategies are working and which strategies are not. A winning player must be able and willing to do something different sometimes.

The Globe caught up to Kill before a recent WHS tennis practice and shot footage of her competing at the sport. We also asked her about her career with a racket. You can see the video online at www.dglobe.com.

Here a few highlights of the interview:

QUESTION: How long have you been playing tennis? Why did you start?

ANSWER: “It’s kind of funny how it started. I was going to go to a friend’s house and she was in tennis. So I came to one of the tennis practices to wait for her until she was done. And when I was sitting there, Mr. Marquardt asked if I wanted to join in, and he gave me a tennis racket. And ever since I played from that practice, I loved tennis.”

Q: What do you think is your best quality as a tennis player?

A: “I think the best quality as a tennis player is my quickness. I’m very fast and can get to the balls easily, which is helpful. If they hit a short shot, I can get to it.”

Q: What do you need to do better to become the best tennis player you can be?

A: “To be a better tennis player I could work on my mental game, which is a very big part of tennis. It’s very hard when you’re playing singles to keep calm and just try to move on even if you made a bad point.”

Doug Wolter

Doug Wolter is the Daily Globe sports editor. He served as sports reporter, then sports editor, news editor and finally managing editor at the Daily Globe for 22 years before leaving for seven years to work as night news editor at the Mankato Free Press in Mankato. Doug now lives in Worthington with his wife, Sandy. They have three children and seven grandchildren. Doug, retired after a lengthy career in fast-pitch softball, enjoys reading, strumming his acoustic guitar and hanging around his grandchildren. He also writes books on fiction. Two of his stories, "The Genuine One" and "The Old Man in Section 129" have been distributed through a national publisher.

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