There were days this spring during the quarantine and into the summer when Brooke Anderson just didn’t feel like practicing.
She would have rather stayed home and relaxed.
But, heading into her junior year at Morgan Park Academy (MPA), Anderson knew she needed to be on the tennis courts as much as possible.
“I focused and did practice during quarantine, especially those days where you didn’t want to practice,” Anderson said. “You just want to stay at the house.”
Anderson’s dad, Kamau Murray, owns XS Tennis and Education Foundation in the Washington Park neighborhood.
So, after finishing her schoolwork, Anderson headed to the courts and put in the practice time. She’s glad she did, especially with the toughest meet of the year on the horizon.
“It’s impacted me during the season,” Anderson said. “I realize I got better. I really liked that feeling.”
Anderson has been a rock at No. 2 singles for MPA this season behind two-time state qualifier Ayanna King at No. 1 singles.
Competing in an Independent School League (ISL) dual meet on Oct. 8 with Francis Parker, Anderson claimed a 6-1, 6-0 victory.
Anderson, a Morgan Park resident, started playing tennis when she was just 4 years old. She did not go out for the MPA tennis team as a freshman two seasons ago, instead opting to play volleyball.
By the time her sophomore year rolled around, she headed back to tennis.
“I realized that for college, I should play tennis. I’m better at tennis,” Anderson said. “It was a reality moment, a heart to heart with myself. I’m good at tennis, should stick with tennis, and it’s what I can go to college for.”
Now, she’s hopefully poised for a big end of her junior season. MPA will compete on Oct. 16-17 at the Class 1A De La Salle sectional, which will conclude the fall tennis season with no state meet scheduled due to the current health crisis.
“As far as the sectional, I want to do my best, especially since there is no state meet,” Anderson said. “It’s tough not to have the state tournament this year.”
No matter when she plays or who the competitor is, Anderson knows her offseason training, both on the tennis courts and in the weight room, is going a long way toward her performance in meets.
“I feel more in shape now,” Anderson said. “Sometimes I’ll run for a ball and think ‘Whoa, I got to that ball!’ That’s crazy. I feel like I have more confidence in myself now that my body is in shape.”