For The Tribune
Seymour’s Kennedy Richart prefers to fight her own battles when it comes to tennis.
Richart has played singles throughout her career, and she wants to keep it that way, saying she believes she thrives in that role.
“If you make a mistake, it’s all on you,” Richart said. “You look to yourself, and then your coach (for motivation). The competitiveness is on a different level, too, because it’s just between you and the other girl.
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“You get to know their different types of skills and abilities when you play them one-on-one.”
The senior began her tennis program in eighth grade and in her fourth season in the varsity lineup.
Richart said she has a lot of confidence in her backhand.
“My backhand is my strongest (stroke), and that’s unusual. I like to warm up and see if her backhand is strong and hit to certain corners, and I like to hit a lot of line shots to see if they’re good at getting there with their feet.
“And I’ll hit a couple of volleys up to the net and see if they’re going to play at the net or not. I personally don’t play at the net, but I want to see if they do so I know where to place the ball, to hit it deeper or shorter.”
With quickness on her side, Richart is able to chase down a plethora of different shots.
“I’m a ‘backboard,’ kind of, so I can get it back and keep it going, not necessarily putting each ball away,” Richart said. “Our fitness, and staying in shape this year has really helped that, me personally being able to get to the ball.”
This season, Richart wants to be consistent with her serving.
“My serving is not my strongest suit,” Richart said. “I just try to stay away from double faulting, so I’ll aim for the inside corner of the service lines on the right because I want to go to her backhand.
Richart said winning the first set is big.
“It’s important to me because it will tell me if I’m going to stay positive or not,” she said. “If I’m down it’s hard for me to climb back up and get it, but unusually I can. If I lose the first set I fight myself out and I need rebuilding.
“A 7-5 win is more exciting for me (than 6-0) because it keeps you on your toes. It’s not one of those boring matches. It’s scary, but at the same time it makes you try that much harder. You work on your placement and work in everything we’ve been doing all along.
“If I lose 0-6, I obviously look at what I need to work on. But If I’m down 5-7, I definitely wait for that next set, and look for different balls to hit.”
Since the sport is in the spring, Richart said you have to be able to adjust to weather conditions.
“The wind is really defying, certainly on me. Because I hit it deeper so my shots tend to go higher, so when it is windy you just have to focus on that and not swinging through near as hard, or just kind of let it hit your racquet and bounce, still focusing on certain points you want to hit,” Richart said.
Richart said she has enjoyed having co-coaches, Nathan Otte and Jennifer Miller.
“Coach Otte is more of a strategic, and he’ll look at it and tell you which points to play and what the other teams’ weaknesses are, and what he wants you to do and what you’re capable of doing, where as Miller offers morale support and when we’re down she knows what to say to us, and what she needs to go to get us back up and encouraged,” Richart said. “Putting them together they are really a good team.”
Parents: Chris and Stefanie Richart
Sports: tennis 4 years, volleyball 2 years
Athletic highlights: helping team win sectionals past three years, Hoosier Hills All- Conference honorable mention
Home meets: “I love home matches. They’re so much easier because tennis is a hard sport to get a lot of fans, so when we are at home we get a lot more people here.
“It’s a big advantage because we warm up on the courts we usually play on for games, and we know how our courts are.”
Goals: “I’ve set personal goals and definitely my main thing is getting up to the net this year because I’ve never played net in the past. I’ve been working on my net play and putting it down.”
Favorite away courts: “Brown County. They have a different set up how it’s stacked up.”
Organizations: Spanish Club, Latin Club, Renaissance Club
Attending SHS: “I think this is the best place for me. I’m more of an outspoken and social person so coming here really broadened my horizons and the classes that are offered a lot more. I’ve taken an internship and that is going to help me with what I’m doing in college.
“If you don’t enjoy something you can get out of it and try something else. There are a lot of opportunities. That has given me a chance to meet other people and try a variety of things. It’s easy to find out who you want to talk to. It’s fun coming to school.”
Plans after high school: attend Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, study social work
Career: “Our expectations are really high. From our freshmen year to now we’ve really built the tennis program. Before tennis wasn’t a main sport for Seymour and it’s really become a big one now. We’re all a close team and we build each-other up. We have good sportsmanship on our team.
Favorite food: alfredo pasta
Favorite singer: Miranda Lambert
Favorite movie: The Gabby Douglas Story
Favorite athletes” Venus and Serena Williams
Favorite book: If I Stay
Favorite quote: “If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.”