Freshman Gussie O’Sullivan is over 8,000 miles away from her Melbourne, Australia, home, but she said her transition to life as a Sun Devil has been seamless thanks to her ASU tennis teammates and coaches.
After winning two of her three singles matches at the Michigan Invitational, O’Sullivan and her teammates are preparing for the Thunderbird Invitational, hosted by ASU next weekend.
Because O’Sullivan is a freshman, she is working on refining her technique before the tournament, she said.
“I’ve been doing a lot of individuals with the coaches,” O’Sullivan said. “I’ve got a lot of technique sort of things to work on. Hopefully I’ll be able to put all the stuff I’ve been working on into place and do well.”
On Tuesday she played a practice match against the Sun Devils’ sole ranked player, sophomore Desirae Krawczyk, who was ranked No. 81. O’Sullivan didn’t win the match but played some of her best tennis of the year.
O’Sullivan admitted she should have been more aggressive but noted the quality of competition she was facing.
“Obviously, she has a pretty big game, so I was on the defense quite a bit,” O’Sullivan said. “I need to step it up a bit more and be on the attack against her.”
O’Sullivan said facing top competition like she did in Michigan and like she does every day in practice has already helped her develop as a player.
“It’s great having players like (Krawczyk) and (sophomore Stephanie Vlad) here,” O’Sullivan said. “It’s obviously good having day-to-day competition with those sorts of players.”
At the end of Tuesday’s practice, coach Sheila McInerney gathered the team at midcourt and was visibly upset. She wasn’t happy with the effort her team showed in practice and said that effort is the most important aspect to tennis.
McInerney was specifically unhappy with Krawczyk in her match against O’Sullivan and junior Joanna Smith in her match against Vlad.
O’Sullivan said she thought Krawczyk played a good game, hardly letting up.
“I thought (Krawczyk) was actually hitting the ball really well,” O’Sullivan said. “I thought she was striking the ball really well, but just a couple points here and there (she let up).”
- Injuries continue to hamper the Sun Devils but seem to be clearing up as the season progresses. Freshman Kassidy Jump is nearly 100 percent after injuring her back in Michigan and worked on her returns while the others played matches.
- Sophomore Ebony Panoho’s hamstring continues to bother her, but she was off crutches and helping out in practice.
- McInerney jokingly referred to junior Leighann Sahagun as “coach” throughout practice as she wasn’t able to play because of a minor wrist injury. Sahagun helped out Jump working on her returns.
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