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Katerina Stewart Ready for Big Time; Hispanic Tennis Profile

August 19, 2013 11:52 PM
Who Katerina Stewart
Age 16
Base Miami
Coach Caesar Stewart, Next Level Tennis Academy
Racquet Babolat Aero Drive
String Babolat RPM Blast
Clothing Solfire Tennis

Miami teen Katerina Stewart has quickly rocketed from Jr. Orange Bowl champion to winning USTA National tournaments to now competing at USTA Pro Circuit events, all in the span of two years.

As USTA Florida rolls out its "Tenis para Todos" (Tennis for Everyone) Hispanic outreach campaign this summer, we spoke with the teen as she was headed up to the WTA event at New Haven to participate in the qualifying draw. Her mother, Marina, moved to Florida from Argentina after competing on the WTA tour, and is a tennis teaching professional and high school coach.

"In the Weston [near Miami] area 99 percent of my kids are Hispanic," Marina says. "In Miami and Coral Gables there are a good number of players also. There are a lot of Hispanic families and good players coming up."

If that isn't enough rich family tennis stock, her father Caesar has 23 years tennis teaching experience and is the director of tennis at the Next Level Tennis Academy.

USTA Florida caught up with the teen who is next targeting the US Open juniors.

What is the strangest thing that has happened to you at a tennis tournament?
Once they sent me on the court with the wrong opponent, and we started our match and I was up 4-1, and then all of a sudden the ref comes on the court and he's like, "Ok guys, sorry, we sent you out with the wrong opponent." I had to start all over against with a different opponent.

Facebook or Twitter?
I use both but Twitter.

Serena or Venus?

Ice cream or chocolate?
Oh that's a tough one. Ice cream.

Novak, Rafa or Roger?

Gatorade or Powerade?

Sharapova or Azarenka?

Favorite website?
YouTube or Netflix so I can watch shows.

Favorite app?
Candy Crush.

Favorite TV show?

Do you have a pre-match routine?
I always warm up an hour prior to the match, no matter what. Also I have superstitions of eating a certain food or drinking a certain amount of liquid before the match that I come up with. I eat at the same time every day and I drink the same amount at the same time.

What is the best thing about traveling around the country and around the world playing tennis?
Just learning about new countries and stuff, and states, and seeing how other people live, and what they do compared to us. Just meeting new people and seeing how they think about us Americans and how they react to different situations.

What is your favorite reward food after winning a tournament?
Cheeseburger for sure, and a milkshake. I went to In-N-Out burger after winning the [USTA National Girls' 16s] hardcourts.

What is the balance of junior and pro events you'll be playing through the end of the year and into 2014?
Right now I'm trying to get my ITF junior ranking higher so I can play all the junior Grand Slams. I'm going to balance it out by playing the highest-level junior tournaments, and playing some $25,000 and $10,000 pro tournaments just so I can equal out my level. I've played a couple pro tournaments now so I think I'm getting used to it, hopefully I can do better with my results.

What are the differences that stand out between playing the pro level and junior events?
Well for sure the pros fight for every singles point, you can't let anything slip out there and they will take advantage, and you're going to lose the match in a heartbeat. And also another thing is the power -- everyone is fit, everyone can hit the ball super hard and they don't miss a lot.

Do you feel you can stand up to that power and make the jump to the next level?
My game isn't so much about power, I'm about consistency. So right now I'm trying to work on being more aggressive, right now I'm trying to work on more of being an all-court player.

You're playing national 16s events now, when do you see yourself making the jump to the 18s?
The reason I played the national 16s was to get the wildcard into the US Open juniors, and also I was working on my game and I wanted to have more confidence doing it. I'm probably going to play more 18s at the end of this year.

You're had a lot of doubles success, why do you like playing doubles?
I love doubles. It's just really, really fun to me, it's really enjoyable on the court and it's competitive. I love being competitive and seeing what me and my partner need to do, and what our opponents need to do to beat us. It's very quick, which I like, and it helps the singles game in serving and returning and reaction time.

Your major goals in the near future?
At the end of this year I want to have accomplished my goals of playing the game style I need to be playing, and getting comfortable with it so in 2014 I dictate it at the pro level, which I'll be playing a lot of next year, so I'm excited. I'm really happy with how I'm playing and my confidence is real high right now, so hopefully I can keep it going through the upcoming tournaments and the US Open juniors, which I'm super-excited to play so we'll see. 





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