April 25, 2007
LOGAN, Utah - You could say Courtney Anderson has climbed the ladder, so to speak, during her four years on Utah State's women's tennis team. And that climb to the top has not been easy.
As an underclassman, Anderson played at number four and number five singles and recorded a 26-20 record during her first two years at Utah State. She then moved up to number three singles during her junior year and was having an outstanding season before slipping on some ice and breaking her right wrist.
Despite the injury, Anderson played on and concluded her junior campaign with a 17-5 singles record and a new found appreciation for the game she has loved since she was 12 years old.
"Playing hurt really taught me a big lesson and it taught me to be a lot tougher," said Anderson. "I think the biggest part of my game that benefited from my injury was the mental part because I didn't have a first serve for a long time and I had to learn to adjust my game and be patient and wait for shots. It also made me figure out what I needed to do to beat people."
And once that new found knowledge became apparent to the former Brighton High School standout she has become almost unbeatable. Despite playing with that wrist injury, which is scheduled to be operated on in the following months, Anderson has posted an impressive 13-3 singles record this season, including a current seven-match winning streak heading into the 2007 Western Athletic Conference Tennis Championships which begins on Thur., April 26 in Boise, Idaho.
"I was really confident playing at number three singles (during my junior year) and I didn't want to move up to number one," reveals Anderson. "I was pretty skeptical about playing at number one because I didn't think I would win any matches. But once I got into the season I realized I was just as good as everyone else."
Despite that lack of confidence in her own abilities entering her senior season, veteran Utah State head coach Christian Wright knew Courtney was one of the best players he has ever had in his 15 years at USU.
"Courtney is one of the most talented athletes I have seen in my life and definitely a first-team all-WAC player this year," said Wright. "I really think she could be a high-caliber athlete in any sport you plugged her in to, not just tennis."
In fact, the Salt Lake City native did excel in sports other than tennis as a youth as she competed in basketball, soccer and softball. But it was tennis that won her heart, and why not, considering that the first tournament she ever participated in she won at the age of 12.
"It was really neat to win that trophy," recalls Anderson, "and I wanted to win more. Tennis was always a good fit for me because I hated letting me teammates down in other team sports, and with tennis it was just me against my opponent."
Whether see realizes it yet or not, Courtney Anderson has become a leader and a team player in the twilight of her Utah State career. And following her graduation from Utah State with a degree in interdisciplinary studies next fall, she will soon realize that despite her childhood fears, she has definitely not let anybody associated with her down.
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