Competing against kids two or maybe three years older can be a daunting task for anyone, but Sarianna Kuuttila from the USTA Southwest Advanced New Mexico Lobos is taking it to an extreme. Sarianna, only 11 years old, is the youngest player in the 18U Tournament, but that hasn’t stopped her from making an impact along the way.
"I like playing at a higher level because it raises my level of my game every time I compete," said Sarianna.
Luckily for her she has a familiar face to lean-on if times get tough. Her older sister Susanna is also on the team and has provided encouragement and guidance for her younger sister every step of the way.
"One of the other things I really like about playing at this level is that I get to play with my older sister and she’s been great," Sarianna added.
As much as Sarianna enjoys competing against older competition, her coach, Derek Lynch, enjoys having her on his team equally as much.
"Sarianna competes with other young kids back home in our tennis academy in New Mexico," said Lynch. "When we qualified for nationals, we told her that we wanted to bring her up to the 18U team, but that she would need to raise the level of her game. She’s worked very hard and takes a lot of pride in elevating her play and contributing to the success of our team."
Early returns look good for the Lobos as they were victorious in their opening match versus the team from the Pacific Northwest.
It appears Sarianna has a bright future ahead of her and hopefully the 2010 Junior Team Tennis National Championships will be the first of many more to come.