The ground strokes ground to a halt, the backhand took a back seat, and her serve was out of service.
For the first time since she began playing competitive tennis at age 8, Addison Price took a break from break points.
"I took a break from August to December, because I'm not going to play college tennis," the Greenbrier High School senior said. "Now that I've had a break I realize how much I miss it."
Price picked the racket back up in January, and despite the layoff, Lady Wolfpack coach Kim Buchanan knows what to expect from her No. 1 singles player this season.
"Pretty much the same as always, that I can count on her match," Buchanan said. "She's a strong leader, and all the girls look up to her. The skill has always been there. Now that she's a senior, emotional maturity is going to play a huge role in her performance on the court."
In her first three seasons at Greenbrier, Price has lost only one regular season match. The impressive run was built on speed, stamina and, more importantly, unseen intangibles.
"Tennis is more of a mental game than anything," Price said. "You have to go out there knowing it's going to be challenging, or else the first second you get down it's hard to bring yourself back."
Price is expected to beat the best opponents, and she can shrug off the pressure, thanks to controlled power and focused determination.
"It's easy for a tennis player to lose an edge psychologically, but she always manages to overcome that," Buchanan said. "Her best asset is just her ability to get back in the game. She has a real drive to succeed."
Price plans to study medicine in college, and for her senior project at Greenbrier, she researched health and fitness.
The current diagnosis for the Lady Wolfpack looks pretty good, according to Price. The squad advanced to the Class AAAA state semifinals last season, and the Lady Pack is hungry for more in 2004.
"This year's team is really strong," she said. "We definitely want to win region. We've never done that, so it would be great if we could win region my senior year."
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