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ITA: In the Spotlight features an interview from the ITA Summer Intern, Paul Mairet.  Mairet was awarded the 2009 ITA/USTWA Student Writing Contest winner.  He is a current college tennis player at Macalester College and will be working with the ITA this summer cover the 2009 ITA Summer Circuit.  This Championship feature highlights the Singles & Doubles Champions of the ITA/USTA National Summer Championship.

ClaytonAlex Clayton is from Fort Lauderdale, Florida and is a junior at Staford University. He is the men’s singles champion this year. His score against Matt Brewer in the final was 6-1, 6-0.

How did it feel coming into the tournament seeded number one? Did you feel like the favorite to win?

Yeah, I definitely did feel the pressure coming in as the number one seed, but I thought if I played well and took advantage of chances I was given in matches, I should be able to win the singles.

What were your thoughts coming into the final? Did the result surprise you?

His game style didn’t match up well. He put a lot of balls in the court, but didn’t really swing out on a lot of shots, so that allowed me to kind of pull him around the court. I felt like I’d been getting better with every match and by the final I was playing my A game.

Do you think you’ll play the Summer Circuit next year?

Not sure yet.

Frilling_and_Krisik_2Kristy Frilling is from Sydney, Ohio and is a freshman at Notre Dame she won the women’s doubles tournament with her teammate, junior Kali Krisik of Arkansas City, Kansas. They played their teammates Christine McGaffigan and Kristen Rafael.

Being seeded first, did you expect to win? What were you thinking coming in?

Kristy: We were just wanting to do our best. And being the number one seed we kind of wanted to live up to those expectations.

Kali: We were just hoping for good competition. We haven’t been able to play any other tournaments together this summer. Obviously we wanted to win, and were expected to win.

What was it like to play against your teammates in a national championship?

Kali: It was fun. We all wanted to win, but it was very easy going. It was exciting for our team and I’m sure our coach was excited too.

Kristy: It was definitely crazy to be honest, kind of awkward. It’s never fun to have to play your teammates. We just tried to think of it like a match and not think about who was on the other side of the net.

What’s been your favorite part of playing the Summer Circuit?

Kristy: Getting in matches in the summer is definitely good since we have this time off. And seeing my teammates.

Kali: Playing with Kristy. I was really excited to play with her. And to be able to compete and play before school starts in the fall.

PluskotaNatalie Pluskota is from Newnan, Georgia and is a sophomore at University of Tennessee. She is the women’s singles champion this year. Her score against Jennifer Stevens in the final was 1-6, 6-2, and 10-4 in the super tie breaker for the third set.

You had two tough matches coming into the final. How were you feeling physically and mentally?

I was feeling alright physically because I’ve been training hard all summer. Just a little sore. I was feeling pretty sharp mentally.

You seem to do well in the super tie breakers. How do you approach that situation?

I just go after it. I knew if I didn’t really go for my shots, I wouldn’t win and I didn’t want to not come out on top.

Do you think you’ll be back next year?

My plan right now is to play some pro tournaments next summer.