Grace Korta talks passion for tennis, new season
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From an early age, Grace Korta had found her athletic calling. At 5 years old, she picked up a tennis racket with the encouragement of her dad, Jack, and she never looked back. Growing up in Tampa, Florida, Korta had ample opportunity to compete against older competition — and she took advantage of that.
“I played a lot in older age divisions when I was younger,” Korta says. “I made that decision because I knew it would help me in the long run. Playing older girls who are stronger players really forces you to rise to their level of play. I was able to translate that level of play into my matches against girls my own age.”
Fast-forward ten years, and Korta could be found competing for Mercer University. As a freshman, Korta primarily competed in the number one and two spots for Mercer, and notched some solid wins against older competition, something that she was fairly accustomed to doing.
She also played in the number one doubles position all season long with teammate Roxy Bartz. She says that during that first season, when playing became repetitive or tiresome, reminding herself of her roots brought the passion back into her game.
“Reminding myself of the little 5-year-old girl who first fell in love with the sport of tennis kept me motivated,” Korta says. “Of course, some days I had to remind myself more than others.”
During her sophomore campaign, Korta really hit her stride. Again playing primarily in the number one doubles spot, Korta and her partner Katia Stravroulaki notched a 10-10 record, beating out some sturdy competition. She also recorded a 10-12 record in singles play on the season.
“Our spring 2016 season brought a lot of learning and growth,” Korta says. “We had great moments and wins in the beginning of the season. Unfortunately, a key player in our lineup, Katie Sidor, got injured right before [the Southern Conference tournament]. In spite of that setback, our team adjusted and got stronger.”
Coming off of a 9-14 record last Spring, Korta has an optimistic outlook on her team’s potential for this upcoming season.
“Coach Hayes brought in three new additions to our team this year,” Korta says. “I know they are going to strengthen our team tremendously, from pushing each other to our max potential in practice, to heightening our team chemistry on and off the court. Every year, our goal is to take home the Southern Conference championship. I truly believe in the capability of each one of my teammates. It’s simply a matter of going out on the tennis court and doing the work.”
In addition to competing at the Division I level, Korta is an active member of Mercer’s extracurricular community. She represents her team in the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, is a sister of the Chi Omega sorority and a member of the Reformed University Fellowship. In addition, Korta is the fall semester on-campus intern for the Athlete Network, an online community for athletes that helps them network and access post-graduate opportunities.
Korta is working towards a major in marketing and a minor in management.