For The Tribune
Caylen Fortino has played both singles and doubles matches with the Brownstown Central tennis team.
When she hits the courts, she prefers to have a partner.
“I’ve played mostly singles, but (coach Erik Stangland) has me bounce back between the two,” Fortino said. “Personally, I like doubles. I’m better at doubles. I like having a partner. Doubles are a lot better, I think.
“The strongest part of my game has got to be the strategy that I try to use in my playing because tennis is a very strategic kind of game, and you have to kind of foresee where your opponent will be next, and try to work your way around it.”
At the start of a match, Fortino dials in on her opponent.
“Warm-ups are crucial, because you get to see if they are left-handed or right-handed, and how they hit, how they serve,” Fortino said. “A lot of their weak points really will come out during the warm-ups.”
Fortino said it takes teamwork to be successful in doubles.
“Communication is big, strategies with your partner and making sure that your partner knows everything that is going on is important,” she said. “You have to focus on yourself, but you also have to make sure that your partner knows what’s going on, too.”
The senior is right-handed and said she feels she has success with her forehand.
“I like using my forehand more, it’s a lot stronger than what my backhand is,” Fortino said. “My serving has improved every single year. This year it has gotten really good and I’m looking forward to acing a couple opponents.”
A grinder, Fortino prefers to rally from the baseline.
“I like baseline just because there is so much you can do with the ball. You can hit it deep, or make it ‘cheap’ and up,” Fortino said.
For Fortino, practices transcend to match situations.
“Practice does make perfect, and if you don’t practice it shows a lot in your game — in your form,” Fortino said.
“Having a good mindset sets you up for success. Whenever you’re down on yourself, what I’ve found that was best and getting myself back in there is this mantra I keep telling myself is, ‘you know what, you can do this. Just kick it into gear, get your head in the game.’”
Name: Caylen Fortino
School: Brownstown Central High School
Parents: Lacey Montgomery, Chris Fortino
Siblings: Ethan, Dominic, Sophia
Sports: tennis 4 years
Organizations: drama club, choir
Plans after high school: attend IUPUI, study music therapy
Favorite food: steak
Favorite TV show: “That 70s Show”
Favorite musician: Amy Lee
Favorite athlete: Indiana University
Q: What’s it like attending BCHS?
A: “It’s had its ups and downs, but yes, I’ve enjoyed being a student here. I’ve enjoyed the close group of friends that I’ve come to be a part of and everything, just how close everyone seems to be.
“I’ve enjoyed the relationships with the (tennis) girls. Even off the court we’re still a tight knit group, and it’s just great being a part of something like that.”
Q: What’s your first goal in a tennis match?
A: “Winning first set is very important because if you don’t win the first set, more than likely you will get down on yourself, and it’s a lot harder to come back and win two more sets, so winning the first set is a big thing.”
Q: Do you like the tennis schedule?
A: “I like the home matches better just because its home court, and we play on these courts all the time so that obviously gives us an advantage. I like playing at Scottsburg. I like their courts a lot because they’re separate.”