Ball State women's tennis won its home opener against Dayton on a weekend that coincided with the first major professional tennis tournament of the season — the Australian Open.
This year, the Australian Open finals were a true throwback. Rafael Nadal vs. Roger Federer was nostalgic, especially for the Cardinals. When Federer won his 18th major, sophomore Ball State player Peyton Gollhoffer said she shed tears.
Senior Toni Ormond said Federer is one of her favorite players.
“Federer, I just like because he’s probably the classiest person ever," Ormond said. "He’s flawless. His game and his technique is amazing to watch."
Ormond and Carmon Blanco won their doubles match comfortably, but Ormond lost her singles bout.
“The one thing I really need to focus on is just playing a bit more aggressively and taking balls earlier when I can because that’s one thing that definitely hurt me this match," she said. "I was playing just a little too defensively and a little behind the baseline.”
Gollhoffer, however, might have been too aggressive in her singles victory over Dayton’s Marlys Bridgham. Gollhoffer's screams of “Let’s go!” and “Hit the ball!” filled the indoor courts at the Northwest YMCA, and a Dayton player on the next court complained to the official about the noise.
It certainly wasn’t an intentional distraction, though. Gollhoffer, like many young tennis players, look up to the titan that is Serena Williams, now a 23-time Grand Slam winner.
“She’s so intense," Gollhoffer said. "That’s kind of what inspires me to be so intense because she doesn’t care what anybody thinks. She just goes out there and does what she has to do.”
Much like Williams, Gollhoffer was hitting the ball with all the power she could muster. She moved her opponent all over the court so she could wallop home winners down the line or cross court, out of the reach of her competitor.
Ball State will be back in action during next weekend’s double-header against Illinois State Feb. 4 and Wright State University the following day.