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Junior Spotlight - Alexa Guarachi

September 17, 2008 02:32 PM

By Tori Townsend

Birthdate: November 17, 1990
Residence: Destin, FL
Plays: Right-handed, two-hand backhand
Schooling: Home-schooled, but going back to South Walton High School in January to graduate with her class in June

USTA Florida junior tennis player, Alexa Guarachi, first picked up a tennis racquet at age four.  Her father and coach, Fernando, played collegiate tennis at the University of Alabama, and both parents have taught tennis at Seascape Resort in Destin for 20 years.  Call it destiny or a lining of the stars, but at 17 years-old, it is no surprise that Alexa has had an incredible tennis career which includes playing in three major Junior Grand Slam Championships, being ranked among the top five American girls in the ITF World junior rankings and winning the coveted US National Clay Court Singles Championship at 14.  With an exciting, yet difficult decision ahead between turning pro or attending college next year, USTA Florida salutes Alexa for her dedication to tennis and recognizes her as our Junior Spotlight!  

She recently took time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions for USTAflorida.com.

USTAflorida.com: You recently competed in your second US Open Junior Championships and lost a very close first round match to a player from Hungary (7-5; 7-5).  What was the experience like for you the second time around?
AG: It was a lot different.  Last year, I was a little shell shocked and nervous because I was so excited to be playing at the Open.  This year, I was more calm, collected and not so jittery.  I knew that I belonged there and that I could compete against the other players.  The match was so close!

USTAflorida.com: You’ve had a good amount of experience playing a wide range of competitors in national tournaments.  How would you say Florida junior tennis compares to other states?
AG: When you play Florida tournaments you know you always have a tough draw.  I have definitely played kids in other states that weren’t as tough.  Florida players have dealt with the heat and it really isn’t an issue for them [as compared to other non-Florida players].  

USTAFlorida.com: How many tournaments would you say you play a month? 
AG: I don’t know how many a month because it depends, but I travel probably 30 something weeks out of the year.  I love meeting new people and seeing all the different cultures. 

USTAFlorida.com: You have been to 23 countries and you are only 17!  What have been some cool places you have traveled to?
AG: Africa was cool and different, but really hot.  In Egypt, I got to ride a camel and see The Pyramids which was probably the coolest experience ever. 

USTAFlorida.com: Is there one match that stands out in your mind that you have played? 
AG: Yes.  Last year at the US Open for my qualifying second round match, I was down a set (4-6), down 5-1 in second and it was 15-40. I came back to win the second set 7-5 and 6-3 in the final set, and then went on to qualify to the main draw.  I was cramping and my body was so hot.  I was overwhelmed and crying when I got off the court.  I was so happy. 

USTAFlorida.com: How did you turn the match around?
AG: I just quit thinking so much and just played.  I didn’t think about the score and I trusted myself.  As the match went on she was getting really tired.  It was a really great win.

USTAFlroida.com:  That is the epitome of not giving up!
AG: I still have people come up to me who saw that match who remember and say, “I can’t believe that match!”

USTAFlroida.com: You have had success in both singles and doubles.  Is there one you prefer playing more than the next?
AG: I love singles, but doubles is a lot of fun because you are more relaxed in doubles.

USTAFlorida.com: If you had to critique yourself, what is your best shot?
AG: Probably my serve [it is over 105mph]. 

USTAFlorida.com: At this age and your level, it is easy to be pulled in two directions – going pro or heading to college.  Where are you at currently with this decision?
AG: It is tough to see all your friends going pro, but I think I have a lot of room to grow and to get better in tennis and I can use the next year to mature, play more pro tournaments and see how high I get my ranking.  Where I live, I don’t have many people to train with so when I get to college it will help me get a lot better.  So right now, I am looking at all the colleges.

USTAFlorida.com: What has been the most exciting part of the recruiting process?
AG: It is cool to see all the different colleges during recruiting visits, go to the different campuses and see the whole atmosphere.  You think college wouldn’t be as tough [in regards to practices], but it is a whole other level and really intense. 

USTAFlorida.com: What do you love most about playing tennis?
AG: I love the competition.  I am very competitive.  It is not like a team sport.  You play for yourself and I love to compete.

USTAFlorida.com: Your father has been your coach all this time.  How is that?
AG: It has gotten harder since I got older, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

USTAFlroida.com: Have you played any father/daughter tournaments?
AG: No, but I played a National mother/daughter tournament. 

USTAFlorida.com: Do you have any other siblings that play tennis?
AG: My brother Sefan [19] has Down syndrome, but he got to participate in the Special Olympics a few years ago and he won three gold medals in tennis.

USTAFlorida.com: What are your goals for the future – in tennis and after?
AG: Right now it is to be the best I can be and I am training really hard on my fitness.  I don’t want to look back on my tennis career and say I could have done that or I could have done this better.  I don’t want to have any regrets with tennis.

USTAFlorida.com: Name some of your favorite things.
Movie: Dumb and Dumber
Actor/Actress: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
Athlete: Michael Phelps
Musical Group/Band: Lil Wayne
Tournament: US Open

Highest Rankings:
• 2008 # 81 ITF G18
• 2007 # 93 ITF G18
• 2006 # 23 USTA G16
• 2005 # 8 USTA G14
• 2005 # 19 USTA G16
• 2005 # 2 USTA FL G16
• 2004 # 36 USTA G14
• 2004 # 3 USTA FL G14
• 2003 # 30 USTA G12

2008 Highlights:
• 2008 Chile ITF doubles champion
• Top 100 in ITF World junior rankings during most of 2007/08
• Beat top 20 ranked ITF player Mallory Burdette at Hard Court Championships

Career Highlights:
• 2007 Tunisia ITF singles champion
• 2007 Tunisia ITF doubles Champion
• 2007 Egyptian ITF singles champion
• 2007 Egyptian ITF doubles runner-up
• 2007 Argentina ITF singles semifinalist
• 2007 South Korea ITF singles semifinalist
• 2006 Edinburgh, Great Britain ITF singles semifinalist

• 2005 USTA National Clay Court 14 and under champion
• 2005 USTA National Clay Court 14 and under doubles runner-up
• 2005 Florida Open 16 and under champion
• 2005 Eddie Herr mixed doubles champion 
• 2005 Chile ITF doubles champion with Mallory Burdette
• 2005 Chile ITF doubles finalist with Mallory Burdette 






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