“At first it was laborious, however now that I’m the place I wish to be, I’m happier than I’ve ever been. I like what I’ve chosen.”
The five-foot-11 right-hander has posted some respectable outcomes at lower-level ITF occasions, reaching finals final yr in Gatineau, Que., and Carson, Calif.
Nevertheless, accidents have been a difficulty throughout her freshman season at USC and she or he didn’t really feel this system was a very good match. Branstine underwent surgical procedure to restore a meniscus difficulty in February and feels refreshed and energized since resuming common coaching.
With most tournaments cancelled this fall, Branstine and teammates are getting ready for the beginning of the spring season in a number of months.
“I see an enormous change, I really feel very sturdy and match and I really feel good throughout,” she stated in a latest interview from Charlottesville, Va. “However my precise recreation type undoubtedly hasn’t modified. I like going for it.
“I like coming to the web, mixing in heavy balls and angles and stuff and utilizing no matter I can to win a match.”
Branstine, whose mom is from the Toronto space, nonetheless maintains a WTA Tour rating (at the moment No. 593) regardless of solely occasional professional appearances. Usually she’d play a number of tournaments within the fall, however most occasions have been cancelled this yr because of the pandemic.
“My mindset proper now could be after I get again out on court docket and every part is regular, somebody higher have a very good purpose to beat me as a result of I’m undoubtedly placing within the work,” she stated.
At the moment a media research main, Branstine has full eligibility at UVA.
“I may keep 4 extra years if I needed to and get grad college paid for,” she stated. “Nevertheless it relies upon how my tennis goes. If my tennis goes very well, then I’d undoubtedly take the bounce and switch professional earlier than I graduate.”
The attract of potential WTA earnings and fame should be tempting.
Andreescu, a 2019 U.S. Open champion from Mississauga, Ont., made US$6.7 million earlier than her twentieth birthday. Montreal native Leylah Annie Fernandez, who beat Branstine within the Gatineau last final yr, simply turned 18 and has already earned a cool $413,000.
Branstine — a cousin of Atlanta Braves famous person Freddie Freeman — stated she desires to play tennis for a “very very long time” however first desires to maximise her schooling.
“I wish to play on the tour and win as many matches as I can,” she stated. “However I additionally thought I actually labored laborious throughout college, my total life, college is a really large a part of me. And I didn’t wish to simply waste that on simply tennis. I really feel like tennis has opened one million doorways in my life, each connection, every part I’ve made, it’s been just about by means of tennis.
“And I didn’t wish to restrict myself simply to being knowledgeable tennis participant. I believe I’ve far more to offer to this world than simply enjoying skilled tennis.”
Virginia was No. 11 within the girls’s Division One staff rankings final March when the season was halted. Head coach Sara O’Leary is worked up to have Branstine on board, noting her large serve, return and forehand energy will put opponents on defence.
“I believe there’s no ceiling on her,” O’Leary stated Thursday. “I believe when she units her thoughts on one thing, she’s able to a lot particularly on the subject of her tennis.”
Branstine stated she’s “extraordinarily glad” with how every part has turned out.
“I like this place that I’m in now by way of faculty, skilled tennis, every part,” she stated. “Every little thing I’m doing now, I believe it’s actually going to assist me sooner or later.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first printed Nov. 19, 2020.
Comply with @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter.
Gregory Sturdy, The Canadian Press
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