Alexandra Mueller began playing tennis before some of her peers were old enough to know the sport existed.
Originally from Abington, Pa. and an avid player in Middle States since the age of 6, Mueller got started at the Philadelphia Cricket Club in Chestnut Hill. Now, at 24, Mueller spends most of her time on courts between Ohio, Washington D.C, Kentucky, Connecticut, and even Canada.
Additional tournaments in different locations remain a possibility, but the ultimate prize would be a stop at Flushing Meadows in early September. For now, that’s where she’s aiming.
The process is not unfamiliar territory for Mueller. Two years ago, she won the Middle States US Open Sectional Qualifier and went on to win the inaugural U.S. Open National Playoffs, earning a spot in the Qualifying Tournament of the U.S. Open. This year, a USTA Pro Circuit event conflicted with the Middle States tournament, so Mueller elected to play at the Midwest Sectional Qualifier that was held a few weeks ago in Mason, Ohio.
Mueller beat Veronica Corning of Massachusetts 6-2, 6-0 in the final of the event. Just like the Middle States tournament, Mueller played and won four total matches and said the overall format and level of play was similar.
“There’s a lot of good college players in both tournaments who are real tough competitors,” she said.
The tricky mix of competitors that she alluded to did not get to her here as she stormed through the draw, never dropping a set and only once dropping more than one game in a set.
“I just try to go out and focus. It’s such a great experience.”
Since capturing the title on July 3, Mueller has kept busy. She traveled to Canada for a $ 50,000 tournament that saw her make it to the Round of 16 in singles and the semifinals in doubles.
“It was a real tough draw, but I felt like it was good experience to go there and play,” said Mueller.
Mueller also made a stop in Lexington, Ky. to play some doubles matches, and participated in singles qualifying and doubles main draw action at the D.C Citi Open. She plans to play in the Bronx before heading to New Haven for U.S. Open Qualifying in mid-August.
One of the challengers that Mueller faces is adjusting to different doubles partners at each tournament. She has a few regular players, but with hectic schedules and different priorities, they change more often than not. From a singles standpoint, Mueller is looking to maintain her powerful serve which helps to keep opponents off balance.
“I try to maintain my aggressive serve while moving really well around the court,” she said. “I’ve always thought of that as a good combination of assets.”
Despite success that has taken her to several different places, Mueller has not forgotten her Middle States upbringing. Playing in junior and sectional tournaments growing up helped get her started.
“While it might not be as well known or as big as a Section, I always felt like it was very close knit, which really helped.”
Tennis determination and success has brought Mueller to several locations and even another country. If things go right, she’ll be on the national stage in New York next month.