Few tennis players are asked to share. Those who play the singles court take credit for the wins and take blame for the losses. When all goes well, a player’s list of accomplishments can span pages.
Forget about individual accomplishments, Julia Casselbury wants to win for the team.
“My favorite thing about tennis right now is the team aspect,” said Casselbury, who grew up in Central Pennsylvania and is now a freshman playing for Boston College. “As a junior player, traveling around becomes so individual. Whatever you do on the court only matters for your personal record. Lately it’s been so much fun for me to be with a team and be a part of something bigger.”
Casselbury knew she would love the team environment even months before stepping on campus. She got a head start on intense team competition last summer when she played a number of matches with a 5.0 women’s USTA League Tennis team from central Pennsylvania.
“It was so much fun,” she said of the experience. “My aunt played on the team and she helped me get started. It’s definitely something I want to do down the road. I think I’ll enjoy being a part of league tennis after college for a long time.”
As far as the level of play goes, Casselbury heard in the past that USTA League Tennis was competitive, but the high level of play was still a surprise.
“I loved playing in it because it was so intense,” she said. “It truly was some great tennis. In doubles, I couldn’t believe how competitive the matches got. It’s not something a lot of people would expect.”
Casselbury certainly has her fair share of success stories on the singles court. Just the fourth female in Pennsylvania history to win three PIAA state tennis titles, she was one of the best young players in Middle States — and nationally — over the past several years. Now a Division I player, one thing is clear: Casselbury is having more fun than ever before.
“I always wanted to get more involved with doubles, and I’m getting a chance to do that here,” Casselbury said. “I didn’t have a set partner in doubles as a junior, and I didn’t focus as much on that. That’s one thing that I’m improving on a lot.”
She added that she expects the quality of competition both in practice and during the season to drastically improve her game over the next few months and years.
“The level of tennis is pretty different in college,” she said. “In practice I’m facing high-level players day in and day out. That’s one of the things that will help me improve and raise my game.”
At times, winning can be lonely. Julia Casselbury found a way to fight that.
“I started playing tennis when I was about 8, so I’ve been playing for 10 years,” she added. “Playing college tennis was always one of my goals. It’s nice to realize that I’m actually doing it.”