Athlete moving up on tennis team

For The Tribune

Trinity Lutheran’s Bailey Baker went from never picking up a racquet until his freshman year to playing at No. 1 singles on the varsity team.

“It’s pretty fun. I like coming out here and hanging out with my friends,” he said. “I like swinging the racquet. It’s just something different. I had never played tennis before I came to Trinity. (Tennis) looked different than all the other sports. Me and a few friends got together and decided to play.”

Baker recently completed his fourth season on the tennis team and has moved up in the lineup each season.

“Freshman year I was No. 1 doubles with Matthew Stuckwisch, sophomore year I was 3 singles, my junior year I went back-and-forth from 2 singles to 1 singles, and now I’m 1 singles.”

Baker said he feels like he has a strong, all-around game.

“I’m good with my forehand and my backhand,” he said. “I’ve improved my backhand. It’s pretty much gotten like my forehand. I have seven different serves, so I’m pretty good with those. I like to confuse people when I serve. My percentage on my games is about 80 percent.”

At No. 1, Baker felt it was important to get off to a good start by winning the first set.

“You want to get that first set so you can be more relaxed instead of you being stressful throughout the second set and trying to come back,” he said. “You want to get the first three games in so you’re already ahead.”

He was one of three seniors on the team, and enjoyed working with the younger players.

“I like to show people what they need to do to get their serves in or maybe get a little better at their forehands or backhands, and just how to play the game and where to hit it when someone is standing,” Baker said.

Baker believes that all players need to take practice seriously.

“Practice is really important,” Baker said. “You learn a lot in practice. Without practice we wouldn’t be here.

“You just can’t walk out here and expect to be the best one, the one who is going to last the longest on the court. You’ve got to make your laps and stretch, and make sure you’re conditioning.”

On the courts, Baker always aimed to stay composed.

“The mental part is important,” Baker said. “You just want to stay humble. If your opponent hits a good shot and is beating you in the score just say they’re doing a good job and go on and just try to do your best and come back.”

Baker said he is glad he chose to attend Trinity.

“I enjoy the atmosphere,” he said. “All the teachers are really nice. They try to get to know you better and stuff like that. We have a 13-to-1 ratio student to teacher and that’s kind of nice.

“You get to know everybody. I don’t think there is anybody in the building that I don’t know. I’ll remember all of it. It really prepares you for college. It’s helped me a lot with my school and how to be a Christian pretty much. God helps you through everything. As long as you believe in Him you’ll do well.”

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Name: Bailey Baker

School: Trinity Lutheran High School

Parents: Doug and Amy Baker

Siblings: Marissa

Sports: tennis 4 years, baseball 2 years

Athletic highlight: most improved in tennis and baseball, baseball sectional champions

Organizations: band, Robotics

Plans after high school: attend Purdue University

Favorite food: steak

Favorite TV show: Forged in Fire

Favorite team: Purdue