Athlete of the week: Senior Sophie Nix has developed into a leader for LaGrange tennis
Published 8:15 am Saturday, March 25, 2023
Sophie Nix has been a star for the LaGrange tennis team since bursting onto the scene with a dominant junior year in which she never lost a match. She was the team’s no. 3 girls singles players then. Now, she is the no. 1 girls singles player and has developed into quite the leader for a young Granger squad.
“This year has been different because I’m taking on a leadership role,” Nix said. “We have a lot of younger athletes on the team, and I feel like I have to be a role model for them.”
Last season’s undefeated run really put Nix on the tennis map. She did not even falter when she played a dominant Marist team in the AAAA state championship last year. It took some time and distance for Nix to realize how special her junior season was.
“It took me some time to realize that I did something really amazing,” Nix said. “It was an unexpected run for me.”
Her individual run was something special but so was the team’s run to the AAAA state championship match. The team lost to powerhouse Marist but the memories she made with that team will stick with her forever.
“My hopes weren’t really up to start the season, but we just kept winning and kept advancing in the playoffs,” Nix said. “It was a big surprise, but it made me so happy.”
She is not the same player she was last year. Nix had worked on her game to make sure she is worthy of being the team’s no. 1 singles player. She has lost some matches this year but that comes with the territory as she now plays against fiercer competition.
“Moving from three to one has definitely been tough on me,” Nix said. “We also changed regions and are playing more Atlanta schools which are more challenging.
“Even though I have lost a couple matches, playing against tougher competition has been good for me.”
She has never backed down from the competition and was angling for a higher spot on the depth chart a season ago. She did not pout, instead she put in the hours to get better. One of the key aspects she worked on in the last year was her service, and she has been pleased with the progress she has made in that department.
Another part of her game that has improved is the mental approach. She no longer gets as frustrated at her own play as she once did.
“I struggled a lot with my anger management on the court (laughs),” Nix said. “I have finally got to the point where I can tone it down, and it doesn’t affect my play on the court as much.”
Nix started tennis as a sixth grader but began to take it more seriously once she hit the varsity level in high school during her sophomore year. She gave up on cross country and track to hone in on tennis, which became her true sporting passion.
“I got really burnt out on running and started to really love tennis,” Nix said.
Nix is in her final run in blue and white. She will be departing in the fall to attend the University of Alabama where she hopes to play club tennis. It is going to be a bittersweet finish to her run with LaGrange when it wraps in the coming months, but she is looking to go out with a bang.