Name: Dhruthi Daggubati
School: Batavia, junior
Why she was selected: Daggubati won the No. 1 singles title at the Jacobs Invite last week. Daggubati is 19-7 on the season and is on a six-match winning streak.
Chronicle sports reporter Jacob Bartelson caught up with Daggubati to discuss her season. Here is an edited transcript, brought to you by Don McCue Chevrolet in St. Charles.
Bartelson: When did you start playing tennis and how did you get involved?
Daggubati: I did it on and off as a kid, but then again, I did a lot of sports as a kid. Then I started taking it a little more seriously in middle school. I didn’t truly enjoy playing tennis until high school, where I was able to interact with my team and I got to make new friends from all different grade levels. And then, that’s when I truly enjoyed the competitiveness of the sport, too.
Bartelson: Have you always been a singles player or have you done doubles? How do you feel about being at that top spot?
Daggubati: I have always been a singles player, so far. I did start off playing No. 3 singles last year, so moving up was quite a bit of a challenge because you’re playing essentially one of the best girls tennis players from every school. So it’s challenging, but I just try and enjoy it out there. I try and have fun and play my best, even if someone out there is really good. If I play my best, I still walk off the court with a smile on my face.
Bartelson: What are your strengths as a player?
Daggubati: I feel like one of the strongest parts of my game is definitely a lot of different shots. I do love to hit some nice forehands, but my mental aspect is also what I think is a strong part of my game. Even if I’m down 2-5 in a set, I will fight for every last point. I will try and figure what the other person is struggling with. … I really just try to keep my head in the game as much as I can. I feel like that’s what helps me out a lot.
Bartelson: Do you have a particular tennis player you look up to?
Daggubati: I’ve always loved watching Naomi Osaka play, and a lot of the younger girls play, too, like Coco Gauff. They’re always super, super inspiring and sweet. Their personalities are also so great, along with their tennis skills, too.