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Mixed State Championships Player Spotlights

September 10, 2014 08:28 AM

To get ready for the USTA South Carolina Mixed State Championships in Florence, SC we decided check in with League Captain Karen Belanger of Greenville and Missey Martin of Spartanburg.  Karen is the owner/court reporter for Foothills Court Reporting and will be captaining an 8.0 40 & Over team and a 7.0 18 & Over team at the state championships. Missey is a stay-at-home mom, who can be found on the tennis court when she's not chauffeuring her two boys between schools and sports. 

_MG_4698_KarenUSTA South Carolina: How long have you been playing tennis?  

Karen Belanger: Roughly 10 years.

USTA SC: What got you into the sport?  

KB: Some people in a fitness class approached me about playing, and I played when I was really young.  Learned against a wall.

USTA SC: How do you make time for USTA leagues?  

KB: I have to find a balance with tennis and my business. I'm highly organized or it would not work. It is time consuming, but worth every minute of my time.  I love tennis and the people.

USTA SC: What do you like best about captaining teams?  

KB: Getting to meet new people and the great friendships developed. Knowing I have a few people I can rely on for help. After all, it is a team!

USTA SC: Where do your league teams play out of? 

KB: Sportsclub in Greenville, SC

USTA SC: What do you like about mixed?  

KB: Mixed is my favorite. I like the dynamics of differentials between men and women players. I appreciate the quick reflex and fast feet of some of the guys getting to the ball, both at net and baseline. Playing a lot of mixed doubles has improved my game tremendously.

USTA SC: What makes your league teams unique?  

KB: It's always about the people and their unique style of play and personalities. It's a complete matrix of strengths in different areas, both athletically on the court and personality-wise.

USTA SC: What are you specifically looking forward to next weekend?  

KB: This is my third year at state mixed. I anticipate fun with my team, who are my friends, and also making new friends from around the state.   The matches are competitive and, win or lose, I love playing against new people.   I am looking forward to creating another great memory in Florence!

misseyUSTA SC: How long have you been playing tennis?

MIssey Martin: Actively for the past 6 years.

USTA SC: What got you into the sport?

MM: My husband who was a collegiate tennis player encouraged me to play.

USTA SC: What other USTA leagues do you play in?

MM: Spring, combo, and singles leagues.

USTA SC: What do you like about mixed?

MM: Being on the court with both men and women at different levels is a challenge. It makes you analyze how you play and pushes you to a different level.  

USTA SC: How many times have you been to state?

MM: Over the past 6 years I have been fortunate enough to play on 16 teams that have had the opportunity to advance to state.

USTA SC: What are you specifically looking forward to next weekend?

MM: Spending time on and off of the courts with my amazing teammates and meeting players from across the state who share the same enthusiasm for the sport. 

USTA SC: In which division and level will your team compete?

MM: 6.0 and 7.0

USTA SC: What makes your league team unique?

MM: The diversity of each player makes our league unique. We have a variety of backgrounds and personalities with one common characteristic - love of the game!