Markus (left) and Wang (right) celebrate after winning their match
By BROOKE BAXTER
Tennis stars Emily Markus and Mya Wang individually dedicated countless hours to their sport prior to becoming doubles partners, but together, the two are a force to be reckoned with.
The duo played a key role in their team’s success at the Point Loma Invitational, known for its high level of competition. They remained undefeated, winning the Pacific Coast League title together. Markus and Wang were also recognized as OC co-athletes of the week in September and in 2018, were part of the All-Orange County girls tennis team.
Despite both girls starting tennis almost simultaneously and now having ten years of experience under their belt, their stories vary before their alliance as doubles partners. When asked about the motivator that led her to take up the sport, Markus explained:
“[My] dream was to play under Stella Sampras, the head coach at UCLA. My biggest inspiration was Rafael Nadal because of the injuries he has had to play through throughout his career and his positive attitude during matches”.
Wang’s inspiration derived from her sister.
“She is the reason why I started playing tennis and lacrosse. I saw her as this intelligent, athletic, and admired, strong woman. She is my role model, and I aspire to be like her” Wang explained. “When I was a little kid, I would sit on the bench and watch my sister practice with all her friends… One practice, the coach let me pick up a small racket and play. After that, I started to take private lessons and hit with my sister for fun.”
It is, in part, thanks to the strong bond the two share that they are able to compete so well together, with each relying on the other to get them through the match. Their relationship as teammates and friends was established in the fifth grade, when Wang first moved to California and they were partners in a tournament together.
“We have been friends ever since,” Wang said. “During our matches, we are always laughing and smiling. While the other team is strategizing, we are usually talking about the weirdest things. I love how we are able to enjoy ourselves on the court while staying focused on the match”.
For both Markus and Wang, a large factor behind their steadfast dedication to tennis is the community and friends they made along the way.
“What made me fall in love was the fact that it was a year-round sport, and I’ve been able to meet so many people through it” said Markus.
Together, the two have been able to help Girl’s Tennis advance on to C.I.F. in their three years playing together for UHS, also helping to secure their team’s undefeated record this most recent season.
“I feel pretty good about this year’s season because… Mya and I have played some of the best tennis we’ve ever played since our freshman year” Markus said.
“I feel that, so far, this year’s season has been very successful. We have many talented players on our team, some who are only sophomores” said Wang.
Through all of the stress that competing with such high expectations can bring, both girls are able to maintain a calm and optimistic mindset.
“My mindset going into a match is just focusing on winning one point and doing my best to stay positive, even if I’m down” said Markus.
“My mentality for every match is the same: ‘just have fun’” said Wang. This mentality allows me to de-stress and enjoy the admirable qualities about the sport”.