Ajari Mattox, a sophomore tennis player, has been playing tennis since fourth grade. He started playing at Sugar Creek Golf and Tennis Club.
“During the summer, my grandma would send me to the courts and when I came back [home] for the school year I told my mom I wanted to play. She brought me to Sugar Creek and I began practicing.”
His grandfather never played tennis, but likes the sport, and encouraged his grandson to play.
“When he saw me playing he invested in me and helped me play too,” Mattox said.
Mattox said he took to the sport quickly.
“I was a fast learner,” he said. “In sixth grade, I was playing better for my age.”
Mattox said his goal is to win a state championship before graduating high school.
“I [also] want to [get] a scholarship and get better as a player,” he said.
He already has a list of colleges he would like to attend, with Howard University and Hampton University at the top of his list. He hopes to get a tennis scholarship, but if he doesn’t, he plans to play recreational tennis.
He has goals to attend Morehouse School of Medicine after he gets his undergrad degree and wants to be a physician’s assistant or an OB-GYN.
Senior Danielle Mattis, a native of Jamaica, has only been playing tennis for three years and worked her way up to No. 1 singles. Mattis said tennis star Serena Williams inspired her.
“My love for tennis grew from watching her play,” she said.
Mattis said she took to the game quickly in her first year.
“I automatically played No. 2 singles,” she said. “I never played doubles, so I’m a pretty fast learner.”
Mattis has been accepted at Wingate University in Wingate, N.C., and hopes to make the tennis team.
“They have a very good tennis program,” she said. “They have some of the best players in North Carolina, and they practice in the heart of tennis, which is North Carolina.”
She said she hopes to be a professional player.
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