11 year old rising tennis player, Justin Kim has qualified for the North Carolina Championship Team – State Track at the USTA-Spring JTT and will play the finals on the 13-15 July 2018 at Cary Tennis Park. We interviewed Justin at practice, and here are his comments.
Question: When did you start playing tennis?
Justin: I started when I was 4 years old, having fun with Coaches Jose and Nina, at Brier Creek Country Club. but I didn’t get serious until about 8 and a half years old.
Question: What changed then?
I was playing golf a lot with my mother, Gina Lee, and my sister Jenna Kim (currently a competitive junior golfer), but I felt I wanted to be more active. I also wanted to spend more time with my dad, Charles Kim, who plays a lot of tennis. My dad would go out with me on weekends and we would hit together. I’m really lucky that my dad knows how to string my racquets and I enjoy playing with him on court.
Question: What would you say you love most about tennis?
Question: Great, what makes you think you could be a good competitor?
In the Fall of 2010, I won a USTA L5 singles tournament, as well as a doubles tournament in one weekend. That convinced me that I could become a really good player. After that, I started to do weekly practice at Brier Creek with Coach Chris Fletcher.
Question: How has working with Coach Liz Odera helped you?
Justin (smiling): I’m really pleased with my first serve: I used to suffer a lot in matches because my serves were very unreliable. She helped me build a powerful kick serve, and it can really hurt my opponents. She has also improved my backhand, my slice and consistency. . She encourages me to plan ahead and trust myself when playing. We prepare for every match together, and go through the results of the last match and focus on what I could use to have an advantage in a match. This has helped my become a more confident player.
Question: What are your next goals?
Justin: I hope to tryout for the varsity team at my school (Durham Academy) when I get to 7th grade, and further on, get to play for a high school team.