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Born with a Racquet in Hand

December 10, 2003 10:15 PM

Hayley Carter is only eight and is the youngest of five children, but that fact is quickly forgotten with one glance at her backhand.

She has competed in more than 20 tournaments in the past year and is No. 1 in the 10 and under standings (as of Nov. 11) with a record of 26-1.

“I like being the baby in the family,” Carter said, who practices five days a week, including two private lessons and three clinics.

Carter began playing tennis at the tender age of six and started playing competitively a year later. Participating in matches is the most fun aspect of the sport for her. Her best shot, at the moment, is her backhand, but she’s been concentrating recently on a new weapon – a topspin forehand.

She is the champion in the eight and under category of the Little Mo Nationals, and was recently invited to the Kids Cup, which takes place in Le Cap D’Agde, France in July of 2004. The competition brings together nine to 16-year-olds from 17 different countries to the Mediterranean for a four-day tournament.

“She’s an unbelievable student,” said one of her coaches, Dr. David McMillan. “I’ve never seen a young player pick up the game so fast.”

“She learns any new shot or strategy I offer her in no time at all,” said Dr. Mac, as his students know him.

Carter is from northeast Columbia, and she has two brothers and two sisters. She also enjoys playing on her school’s softball team, when she’s not on the tennis court.