Mingus Union athlete of the week: Senior Whiteley off to 7-1 start in fourth season as Marauders’ singles No. 1
A fixture in the No. 1 singles slot, Mingus Union girls tennis senior Talon Whiteley is off to a dominant start this year.
Whiteley began the season 7-1.
She and new doubles partner, senior Pei-Wen Yang, have gelled after she and Emma Williams had been partners a long time.
Whiteley hopes to pursue a career in nursing after high school.
VVN: How’s the season been going for you?
Whiteley: It’s been going great. I have seven wins, one loss and I’m having a lot of fun. I have a new doubles partner this year but we’ve been doing really well together.
VVN: Early in the season coach talked about the stuff you’ve been working on, what have you been working on since then?
Whiteley: I have a new serve, it’s more a slice serve so I’ve been working a lot on that and just being more aggressive with my strokes, kinda more offensive.
VVN: How’s your game changed over your high school career?
Whiteley: I started off very timid I’d say, freshman year. I played number one but I was very timid and through the years I’ve been working a lot more on getting my strokes a lot more well developed and more aggressive I’d say.
VVN: How’s the transition been, changing doubles partners?
Whiteley: It’s been good. Pei-Wen is my new doubles partner and she and I have been working very well together, so she’s fun to play with and she’s a lefty and so we both kinda play on our strengths and it’s been fun.
VVN: Did you have a lot of worries about it after playing with Emma for so long?
Whiteley: I did just because Emma and I played together for a long time and it was just new and unexpected but it’s worked out well.
VVN: How long does it take to develop a good rapport with a doubles partner do you think?
Whiteley: I’m not sure. I mean I’ve known Pei-Wen for the four years or five years I guess. We definitely have grown the first couple of matches we weren’t communicating as well together and now we do, we communicate a lot more and we have much more a kinda encouraging relationship, like we’ll bump rackets and encourage each other and stuff. So we’ve gotten more comfortable with each other.
VVN: What’s it like being No. 1 and being singles No. 1 for so long because I feel like usually people do that their senior year or something?
Whiteley: Right. I feel like I’m a lot more competitive this year with other number one players. I feel like I’ve just improved enough as a player to be better and I’d say that there is pressure but my team is really supportive, so that kinda takes a lot of the pressure away and it’s nice.
VVN: How’s the school year been going for you?
Whiteley: It’s been great, I only have four classes, which is really nice and I took the CAN course last semester and yeah, doing good with all my classes, don’t have that much longer left.
VVN: What kinds of things do you like outside of tennis and outside of school?
Whiteley: I’m in FFA, so I’m raising a steer for the fair this year and I’m gonna be working at a vet clinic, just helping out there and then I’m going into nursing, hopefully, at NAU this fall.