Freshman Kassidy Jump is looking forward to playing in her first collegiate tournament. The opportunity will come Sept. 20, 21 and 22 at the Michigan Invitational.
“I am very excited to play (the Michigan Invitational),” Jump said. “I have been waiting to play a tournament. … If I can go in confident, I think I’ll do good in it.”
Her preparations have included a lot of work on technique, because most of the ASU tennis team’s time has been spent in the weight room up to this point.
Wednesday, coach Sheila McInerney was focused on Jump’s hand techniques in her forehand returns. McInerney called upon junior Leighann Sahagun to come show Jump her technique and to help set an example. McInerney said Sahagun’s form is one of the best on the team.
Jump said she’s received tips and instruction from older players on a regular basis since she began practicing with the team.
“A lot of (the upperclassmen) have been helping out with how I need to be hitting,” Jump said. “They’re really good examples”
Despite not having a senior, Jump doesn’t think the team lacks leadership. She pointed out the help she’s gotten, but also noted how quickly she’s bonded with the team.
“Joanna Smith and Leighann (Sahagun) are both great leaders,” Jump said. “They’ve made me feel very comfortable.”
In addition to working on her hitting technique, McInerney has been working with Jump on playing more of a male style of play.
Jump was home-schooled and played tennis privately, so she grew up playing against lots of men and already has a handle on the style of play.
“Playing the guy kind of style has helped me a lot,” Jump said. “I think it’s going to make me even better.”
She said most of the girls in women’s tennis play with similar styles – hit it hard and flat. Playing with a different style will help her differentiate herself by putting a lot more spin on the ball.
“(Playing with a guy style), you’re going to have a very different style and you’re not going to be playing like anybody else,” Jump said. “So they’re going to have a lot more problems with it.”
Sahagun was the first on the court to hit Wednesday morning. She looked more confident in her play after struggling towards the end of last season.
She had noticeably spent time in the weight room over the off-season and at the beginning of this season. Not only was she swinging confidently, but she was hitting with more power, too.
Jump (back) and sophomore Stephanie Vlad (groin) were both rehabbing minor injuries, but played seemingly at full strength in practice Wednesday and don’t think the injuries will impact their availability or play at the Michigan Invitational.
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