The EA junior, who is undefeated this season (12-0) and won the second flight of the recent Inter-Ac Girls’ Tennis Tournament, hasn’t dropped a set this fall while being a key member of the Inter-Ac champion EA girls’ tennis squad. “Ella has an all-court game – she is just as comfortable at the net as she is on the baseline,” said EA head coach Whit Powell. “Her biggest attribute is that she sees the court in three dimensions. This makes it very difficult to play because she can adjust her shot selection based on her opponent. Mentally, she is always calm, shows very little emotion and is calculated in her approach in breaking down her opponent.” Walker is new to EA this fall – this year is the first time she has attended school in the United States. She has lived in England (two years), Thailand (six years), Vietnam (four years) and Canada (four years).
Q: Can you tell us what attracted you to EA, and tell us a little about the story of your journey here?
A: Being new to this area I was attracted to EA due to its reputation for athletic and academic excellence. Having moved every four years across three different continents I appreciate the community EA has built in supporting their students and athletes, this stability has helped me on and off court.
Q: What was your sharpest memory of the Inter-Ac Tournament?
A: A point that stood out was the match point of my semi-final game when I put away an overhead to finish a long rally. My most fond memory of the Inter-Ac tournament would be supporting my team after each match and celebrating our victory in the end.
Q: Tell us a little about your pre-match preparation the day of a match.
A: Before matches I have a consistent dietary and hydration plan and start my physical warm up an hour before going on court. If time allows I try to hit and play points before going on for my match to get in a more competitive mind set.
Q: What do you think has been your best match of the season, and what was working particularly well for you that day?
A: My most memorable match was during pre-season against Conestoga because I was presented with a personal challenge. 6-0, 1-0 into the match a blood vessel burst in my hand which was extremely painful, and I had to play through and managed to finish off the second set 6-3.
Q: Who are your favorite tennis players? Do you try to pattern your game after any of them?
A: There are a lot of players I look up to for various reasons. Probably my most unexpected influence right now is Pete Sampras’s style of serving, particularly his load on his back leg. I am constantly inspired by players on tour and challenge myself to learn from them.
Q: What do you think is the strongest part of your game? What part of your game are you currently working on the most?
A: I consider my weapons my serve and forehand since I gain more free points off of these, however, I am an all court player and constantly work to transition into the court. I am always working on my movement into the court and taking time away from my opponent as well as variation throughout points.
Q: Who have been your top tennis mentors, and what was the most important thing you learned from them?
A: My top tennis mentor has been Patricia Hy-Boulais, a former professional player who I was able to work with for three years while living in Canada. Patricia not only developed my technical game but played a large role in helping my competitive and tactical abilities. Patricia taught me to value discipline, focus, and hard work. These are lessons I have been able to apply to all aspects of my life.
Q: What is your favorite tennis venue, and why?
A: My favorite tennis venue where I’ve played, is the Rogers Center in Canada because my favorite surface is hard outdoors and it is where they host the Rogers Cup. In terms of locations where I have not played, Wimbledon is my favorite Grand Slam venue. I am half English, so this venue is also tied to many summer memories with friends and family.
Q: What is your favorite academic subject at Episcopal Academy? What do you think you might like to major in at college? Is there a career path that particularly appeals to you at the present time?
A: My favorite academic subject at Episcopal Academy is Theology because I am interested in the natural sciences. I would like to major in Psychology, in particular I would like to go into Sports Psychology as a career.
Fun facts – Ella Walker
Favorite book: Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, by Angela Duckworth.
Favorite TV show: Friends.
Favorite athlete: Billie Jean King.
Favorite place to visit: Vietnam (“I lived there for four years.”)
Person I most admire: “Lilia Osterloh, another tennis mentor of mine who played on the tour and is in the Stanford Hall of Fame. Lilia has been a huge support throughout my tennis career.”
Family members: parents Matthew and Jill, sister Dakota.
(To be selected as Main Line Girls Athlete of the Week, a student-athlete must first be nominated by her coach.)
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