EDWARDSVILLE - Tennis is an unforgiving sport that requires hours of practice, repetition, and dedication. While the grind of playing tennis is not for everyone, there is no doubt Zoe Byron has the mentality to be a top-notch tennis player. Byron's work ethic and competitiveness have helped her emerge as a leader for the Tigers.
A testament to Byron’s commitment to the sport is how she went from number thirteen in 2020 to number three in the 2021 season.
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“I am happy with what I have accomplished," Byron said. ”It is insane that I was able to come from the thirteenth spot to the third spot in one year and get second in the conference tournament.”
Byron went from thirteen to three, earned a second-place finish in Southwestern Conference Tourney, and was one match win away from qualifying for the state tournament in just 18 months. When asking Byron what she thinks has made the biggest difference, “I played a lot of tournaments in the off-season, and I trained really hard. I think that helped my mental game get a lot stronger. Both working on getting stronger physically and mentally has really helped.”
Zoe Byron is one of the iCAN Clinic Female Athletes of the Month for EHS for her rise on the team and huge contributions to the Tigers girls tennis squad in fall 2021.
While match play and physical training are helpful for a players' game, coachability and intelligence are equally as important. Byron’s coaches credit her on her willingness to listen, work on new things, and compete as aiding her in her meteoric rise. Being a Tiger Tennis player under head coach Dave Lipe means playing with consistency, focus, and competitiveness.
Byron epitomizes Tiger tennis with her following quote. “I try to play consistently and make sure that I try to go for wins in matches when I am 99 percent confident. I have realized a lot of the most consistent points that I play, I end up winning. If that means I have to draw out a point, then I will draw it out.”
Bryon not only works hard, but she also works smart. While Bryon has the signature Tiger fight, her intelligence is her own. According to the junior, “I think I do well on noticing the shots players do not like to hit. I think I also do well on focusing and hitting shots players are not expecting or that make them uncomfortable.”
Byron has just one more year with the Tigers and will likely enter her senior year playing some of her best tennis. If the number three singles player continues to improve, expect Byron to be a leader and key contributor to the Tigers' 2022 season.