Behind the racket

Jessica Moonjely ‘20 was able to win all of her 19 matches last season due to her passion and commitment to tennis

Jessica+Moonjely+%2720+hugs+her+racket+on+a+sunny+day%2C+ready+to+play+some+tennis.
Jessica Moonjely '20 hugs her racket on a sunny day, ready to play some tennis.

Jessica Moonjely '20 hugs her racket on a sunny day, ready to play some tennis.

Jessica Moonjely '20 hugs her racket on a sunny day, ready to play some tennis.

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Whack. A small bright green ball goes flying over the net. Smack. Over and over again. Until it is too far out of your reach. A sigh escapes the coach as she quickly scribbles down some notes. The wind whips through your hair as you tighten your grip around the racket handle. Whack. There it goes again. Over and over again. Everyone holds their breath. You feel the damp sweat on your palms collecting up. At last, a cheer emerges from your teammates.

Moments like these are glorious for Jessica Moonjely ‘20, who has been playing tennis since she was eight years old. Her father always loved watching tennis, but since he never had the chance to take lessons, he wanted Moonjely to have the opportunity he never got. With his support, she came to love it.

Moonjely had a remarkable season last year, as she won all of her matches as a freshman. At the time, she never thought much of it and was more focused on helping her teammates. She didn’t feel pressured, which helped her build up her confidence.

“I think the lack of expectations to live up to definitely was one of the reasons [why] I was able to accomplish what I did last season,” Moonjely said.

Sumner Wallace, Ella Smith

 

Looking back on the memory, she is proud of the accomplishment and is looking forward to another season of hard work.

Moonjely thinks that people often get their motivation from trying to be better than the other players around them, but she drives her motivation from trying to improve from her previous games.

“Comparing from last season, she had some challenging matches. She just found a way to overcome the nerves and was able to stay focused on the objective of the match and her plan,” said Amie Villarini, her coach. “That’s how she was able to overcome the tight matches. She stuck with her plan and her footwork really helped her.”

Tennis is often seen as one of the easiest and least strenuous sports, but Moonjely thinks otherwise.

“Some people might just see two people smacking a ball back and forth over a net, but it’s a lot more than that. Tennis actually requires a lot of mental strength,” she said. “You’re constantly having to anticipate where the ball will come next and […] where you need to hit it. Tennis takes a lot of cardio, balance, and coordination.”

She’s very nice and very passionate about the sport. She always has a really good attitude on the court. She shows that more than anyone.”

— Vivian Mitchell

However, nothing comes without its doubts. With tennis being a sport not played by many, Moonjely has wondered if she has chosen the right sport to play. She later came to realize that the sport is unique and doesn’t regret joining the high school team.

“She’s very nice and very passionate about the sport,” said Vivian Mitchell ‘19, her teammate. “She always has a really good attitude on the court. She shows that more than anyone.”

Villarini agrees that Moonjely has a positive impact on the team.

“Jessica is a little ball of fire. She’s just the most positive person I know,” said Villarini. “She plays with such intensity and she puts a hundred and twenty percent in for every point.”

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