By Dana Delgado
Don’t let that freshman classification fool you.
Liberty Hill High School varsity tennis player Alex Svetlik is for real. She’s not a sleeper by any definition but a legitimate contender and quite athletic.
LHHS Tennis Coach Robert Headrick says “Alex is very skilled for such a young player.”
“I feel Alex can hold her own against just about any other girls’ tennis player and most boys,” Coach Headrick said. “She is definitely a leader and the future for Liberty Hill tennis.”
The freshman player says she is ready and eager for the challenges ahead.
“I’m hoping to win singles in district with a lot of hard work,” she said. “I’m serious about the game, competitive, and focused. I’d like to be in the state meet sometime over the next four years.”
In the season opener Feb. 14, the 5’5” first-year varsity player finished third in the Division I girls singles competition in Waco against some imposing, more experienced competitors. Last weekend, Miss Svetlik teamed up with Frances Prewitt to win the consolation match in girls doubles against Taylor at a tournament in Bastrop.
“We started out slow at Bastrop but got better by the end of the day,” she said. “At Waco, I let myself get a little impatient. I need to continue to work on my mental game, but my physical game is okay with my serves and hitting improving.”
Miss Svetlik is the reigning 8th grade District Champion in girls singles during which she also competed in volleyball, basketball and track and in her other favorite sport, soccer.
Coach Headrick says Alex is excited about facing more experienced players in high school competition.
“She doesn’t mind playing people that are supposed to be better or older,” he said. “I think she looks at it as an opportunity to get better.”
“It’s a lot different playing high school upperclassmen,” she said. “Fortunately, I’ve played a lot of competitive tennis outside of school.”
This weekend she’s off to compete in matches sanctioned by the United States Tennis Association in the youth 16-year-old division. It was in USTA competition that Miss Svetlik suffered one of her most disappointing losses at a Round Rock Tennis Tournament. Although an intense match, it was just the one that got away from her.
“I just didn’t play my best,” she said.
“She shows up daily ready to work,” said Coach Headrick. “Some days her dad picks her up and they hit longer. She is a great kid to have on the team.”
Interestingly, in another loss but this time in soccer, she experienced ultimate success. It was in Houston during a competitive state round-robin tournament that her team ended up in a tie that forced a shootout.
“We lost,” she said, “but it was a great feeling because we played so hard. We felt like we accomplished so much.”
Miss Svetlik says she’s been playing on and off since she was four. Her father, Darren Svetlik, competed in college tennis and has been her lifelong athletic mentor. Her mother, Priscilla, has been the unofficial family referee tempering relations between the developing athlete and her competitive dad.
“They’ve always supported me and I love them both,” she said. “Sometimes I get frustrated with my dad but we understand each other and we make up.”
She was born in Starkville, Mississippi, but after only a few months her family moved to San Marcos and then to Pflugerville. Her family relocated to Liberty Hill when she was in sixth grade. Since that time, Miss Svetlik has become not only skilled in tennis but other areas as well showing her exceptional athleticism.