SDA tennis standout’s determination nets title

Jennifer Kerr’s success in tennis comes down to hard work, as simple and old-fashioned as it sounds, coaches say.

The San Dieguito Academy (SDA) junior last month captured a San Diego section CIF championship, becoming the first Mustang to take home the girls’ singles title.

Kerr in a recent interview attributed her work ethic to her family, particularly her parents and grandma.

“They’re really good about offering encouragement, not forcing you to do things,” Kerr said.

She began playing tennis at the age of 4, and hasn’t stopped since. Kerr said her appreciation for the game keeps growing.

“I can’t really imagine not playing anymore. I’ve been doing it so long.”

Tennis coach Joe Tomasi said Kerr puts in an amazing number of hours on the court. To top it off, she’s a stellar student, he added.

“She’s very humble and doesn’t like to talk about herself,” Tomasi said. “Make no mistake, she’s very impressive. She doesn’t take time off from the court.”

Kerr won the singles title against La Jolla Country Day’s Paulina Ferrari.

“I just went in and played,” Kerr said. “Even though the score didn’t seem very close, it definitely felt like she could come back at any time if I didn’t keep up.”

She noted that SDA more and more is known for tennis, and Kerr hopes her victory helped the program gain additional exposure.

“It makes me really excited that I was able to add this to our school’s accomplishments and put our school’s name out there.”

Kerr said she’s also excited about new SDA tennis courts that debuted this fall.

Three years prior, the school’s tennis courts were ripped up for construction, so players and coaches had to deal with afternoon traffic on Interstate 5 to make games and practices in Oceanside.

“The new courts are just so nice,” she said. “It’s a big deal for the school.”

What does the future hold for Kerr? For one, she wants to play tennis in college, wherever that may be.

More immediately, she’ll soon compete in the U.S. Tennis Association’s Winter National Championships in Arizona. And because she’s only a junior, next year Kerr wants to repeat the CIF title.

“I’m not going to try and think about how I did this year, because I feel like it’s going to affect the way I play. So I’m just going to try and go in with a clear mind. And hopefully I can do well again.”

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