In a season that was shortened due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Nicole Parker went 5-0 in singles and 4-1 in doubles for Lake Wales High School’s girls tennis team.
Parker made the all-county tennis team as a sophomore, junior and senior. As a sophomore, Parker was a runner-up in her district while playing No. 1 singles and doubles. In 2018 and 2019, the Lake Wales girls tennis team won the East County Tennis Tournament.
How did you get into tennis?
I started in eighth grade. My dad and mom always played tennis and they had a middle-school tennis team and I loved it so I stuck with it.
Who has helped you the most with tennis?
Probably my dad. My dad always practices with me. My coach, Laura Motis, helped me tremendously and always pushed me to do my best.
What are your current plans for college?
I'm going to be attending UCF and I plan on majoring in electrical engineering. I definitely plan on doing club tennis.
How upsetting was it for the season to get cut short due to COVID-19?
I think we were a little past halfway, but a lot of our games had gotten cancelled because of rain. We didn't get to do regionals, districts, county tournaments — it got cut short.
It was upsetting because I always looked forward to playing tennis and kind of knowing when my last match was — having senior night. The night we had our last game, we kind of had an idea this would be our last one, so we made it count. I'm thankful for that last game. But yeah, I was kind of bummed out.
What’s your preference between playing singles and doubles?
I think it's kind of hard because they both have qualities I love about them, but singles is my favorite because it’s up to me and I have the ability to decide if I win or not. Doubles, it’s mutual, (I) kind of have a role in it. Singles, I have a control in what the outcome is going to be.
What’s the biggest challenge about playing doubles?
I think doubles the biggest challenge for me was the feeling of not letting someone down. You almost get more tense. My doubles partner was great but it wasn't too stressful. The biggest challenge was the tenseness that comes with it. Not wanting to let your partner down I think that was the biggest challenge for me.
Who’s your favorite tennis player?
Hsieh Su-wei. I play two-handed both forehand and backhand and she does that too. Novak Djokovic is one of my favorites too because I love the energy he gives. He's my favorite because of how he plays.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start playing tennis?
With tennis, it's difficult to start. It’s all about timing and knowing the angles to hit the ball. I'd say stick with it because the first time you aren't going to be the best at it. I played other sports and tennis was the hardest to pick up but you can continue to improve. Sticking with it and having that tenacity even when it gets hard.
What are some of your hobbies outside of tennis?
I did a lot of clubs in school. I guess during school the biggest hobby was homework, I was aiming to be in the top five of my class and I got salutatorian — I was very honored. I really like instruments, so I’ve been playing piano, guitar and ukulele. I like painting, too, but I like playing instruments more.
What’s your favorite movie?
“La La Land” is my favorite movie. Love that movie, love the artistic element of it — their attention to detail
What’s your favorite TV show?
I have so many Netflix shows that are around the same area, but I would say “Community” is my favorite TV show. I like the art of “Community.” It’s very creative and funny.