Seymour senior plays aggressive style of tennis


For The Tribune

Grace Otte has always wanted to improve her tennis any time she had an opportunity.

That meant not only practicing during the season, but taking lessons during the winter at Tipton Lakes in Columbus and spending time on the Seymour High School courts last fall as a manager of the boys tennis team.

“I was the manager that warmed up with the boys because they had an odd number on varsity,” she said. “So that boy (Isaac Hardin) that I take lessons with is the one I warmed up with during the season. He has helped me so much because he hits the ball really hard, so it’s only helping me, and I still continue to take lessons.

“I got out of it not only experience, but knowledge of the game, like where to place the ball. He has made me a better overall tennis player. I’ve taken private lessons all offseason.”

Otte said she began playing tennis in eighth grade, and once she got to Seymour, she played junior varsity matches her freshman season.

She played two varsity matches at No. 2 doubles her sophomore season and played No. 2 doubles throughout last season.

She expects to move up this season.

“I’ll either be at No. 1 doubles or No. 1 singles, most likely 1 singles,” Otte said. “I like doubles because I liked having an extra person, but I’ll play either.”

She said communication is important in doubles.

“Communication is key,” Otte said. “If you don’t talk, the point doesn’t go anywhere. I play on the forehand side. My serves have gotten a lot better. They had to break me of my volleyball serve. I like to start out with power serves, and then I realize my opponents’ weaknesses, and then I start placing them.

“Warmups are very important because then you know how to pretty much take control of the game. I like playing at the net. I think that’s from volleyball, too, playing aggressive.”

Otte played volleyball her first three years in high school.

She said the reason she enjoys playing at the net is because you have to make quick decisions.

“(I like) knowing that it’s a quick decision, like if the ball is coming at you, you have a decision to place it, but it’s a really quick decision and just knowing that you can slam the ball,” Otte said. “That’s my goal. My goal is to make my opponent move so I can get up to the net because I’m really strong at the net. I have to be smart and place the ball better first.”

In her final season, Otte looks to lead the Owls.

“I’m the only returning varsity player,” Otte said. “I try to make the freshmen and sophomores feel comfortable, like not make them feel we’re so much better than them, and just getting to know them just like a family. All four seniors are doing a good job. We’ve been bonding with the freshmen, making sure that it’s as important to them as it is to us.”

Otte has changed her opinion of tennis over the years.

“I originally thought it was a really boring sport, but then my cousin got me into it, and I really like it just because you can only blame yourself,” Otte said. “Volleyball is a team sport, which I like that, too. In an individual sport, it’s your fault, so you know how to change it, you know how to correct your mistakes, or with a partner, you have an extra person to encourage you. Even playing singles, the (players) on the other courts, I always try to encourage them because it’s a very mental sport.”

She said it’s important to work hard in practice and stay positive.

“To me, practice is like a match, like I’m not going to not try my best at practice because it’s only going to go into a game,” Otte said.

“If you don’t have the mental aspect, you’re not going to play well. When I first got into tennis, it was really tough because I didn’t have that. I was used to volleyball where you have your teammates, then going to singles by myself was a big change.”

Otte has enjoyed attending Seymour.

“I love the atmosphere,” she said. “I like the teachers. They’re really helpful. I haven’t had a teacher that hasn’t been willing to help me outside of school.”

[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”Otte file” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

Name: Grace Otte

School: Seymour High School

Parents: Carvin and Julie Otte

Sibling: Isaac (deceased)

Sports: Tennis, four years; volleyball, three years; boys tennis manager, one year

Athletic highlights: Tennis sectional champions 2017, all-county 2017

Organizations: National Honor Society, DARE role model, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Spanish Club, Renaissance

Plans after high school: Attend Franklin College and study accounting/ finance

Favorite food: Pasta

Favorite TV show: “Reba”

Favorite musician: Bruno Mars

Favorite movie: “The Parent Trap”

Favorite athlete: Madison Keys


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