In 2012 Kolin Kiekhoefer became the first player from New Life Academy to play in the state tournament. The senior is currently No. 9 in the Class 1A singles rankings.
How does it feel to be ranked? I like it! It shows that hard work pays off.
It’s a big deal for New Life also, I assume? It’s cool to see our little school on the map. It shows we can play with the big guys.
How did last year’s state tournament appearance influence your game? It’s been a big motivation for me. I knew I had to raise my game to play with [players like] Myles Tang and Charlie Adams. So I played five, six, seven days a week.
Has it helped? I’m stronger and I can finish points. I can hang with them.
After last year, the goal has to be the state tournament, right? Last year I was just happy to be there. I didn’t care about winning. This year, I’m hoping to make a deep run.
How did you start playing? When I was 10, my parents took me to a tennis lesson. I developed a passion for it. I love watching it, I love playing it.
Your strength? I keep the ball in the court and make [my opponents] make mistakes, then I put them away.
Must-haves: My Babolat racquet and my Babolat shoes.
Why Babolat? When I was young, my hero was Andy Roddick. He used Babolat, so I did, too.