A Game, Set, and Match with Shayna

Amanda Nurse, Staff Writer

Shayna Fink started her love of tennis at a Central Bucks sponsored summer camp before she began the seventh grade. That school year, inspired by her cousins and tennis stars Madison Keys and Jack Sock, she decided she would join the Unami Middle School tennis team.

Since that year, Fink, now a senior, has played doubles tennis for the school team. Fink just finished playing her final doubles tennis season at South, having been a member since her freshman year, along with seniors Rachel Salkovitz, Morgan Jacobs, and Leah Pursell.

Fink is very disappointed that the season has ended. “You always want the season to end while it’s going on because it’s so much work, but then when it really is over it is so upsetting,” she said. “It doesn’t feel real.”

Fink looks back very fondly on the tennis season and team activities, especially because she said she feels that this season has seen a lot of personal growth. Her motivation in tennis is getting better and improving her skills, but she also loves to help the entire team win.

Before every match, she remembers eating pretzels in the bus and having singing parties with all of her teammates. “You spend so much time together that you get to know each other so well,” she said. “We comfort each other and get to know each other so well we can read each other’s faces.”

Leah Pursell, a senior, also really enjoyed the team atmosphere of tennis. “I love the team and the chance to go out and hit with girls who love it as much as I do.”

Fink was especially close with her partner this year, Karina Metha, a sophomore. “I like having someone to support me,” Fink said of playing doubles tennis. “They [your partner] help you realize what you are doing wrong.” Fink and Metha have grown in sync and work very well together.

Fink has had three different partners while on the South tennis team, one partner during her freshman and sophomore year and two different partners during her junior and senior years. She said, “There is always an adjustment to different playing styles,” but that it only takes a little while to get used to it.

Fink loves many things about tennis; her favorite thing is poaching, which is when “one person at the net hits the ball so the other side won’t be able to return the shot.” She conceded that tennis is sometimes difficult, saying that she doesn’t enjoy the heat in the August to September season.

Fink is also a little superstitious. When she was younger, she used to bounce tennis balls the same number of times as the number written on the ball before she served in a game.

Fink has accomplished a lot in her six years of playing tennis. At previous end-of-season banquets, she won a sportsmanship award and the coach’s award, as well an award passed between teammates.

Her favorite memory of winning a match was during her junior year match against Central Bucks East. “We were on our third set against East on the night of the football game against West,” Fink said, laughing. “We won the set, which my partner and I were so proud of, even though the rest of the team was angry that our  matches took so long since they wanted to go to the football game.”

In addition to the South team, Fink also attends group tennis lessons in a noncompetitive setting. These lessons help her with many drills for instruction and technique, instead of the strategy and teamwork that the school team creates.

Fink also has many other interests besides tennis. She is a co-creator of the Language Club with senior Courtney Knerr. The two started the club in their sophomore year due to their interest in the Spanish and French languages and cultures. She also balances her club and tennis with diving and multiple AP classes.

“It’s very hard because tennis has to be your first commitment,” she said. Fink added that short two-month season helps because she can give up activities for that short time and rejoin after tennis.

Even though the tennis season may have ended, Fink is not done playing tennis. She wants to continue in college and beyond, whether it is competitive or recreational. “It’s a good way to stay active and meet new people,” she said.