Wooldridge heading Stateside
‘‘t’s something I love to do. It’s definitely my passion and I love playing.’’
Tennis player Olivia Wooldridge is about to swap her Tawa-Lyndhurst club colours for the blue and white of Catawba College in North Carolina. The 18-year-old has signed off on a scholarship to the school where, from August, she will balance playing the game she loves with studying for four years.
Wooldridge has been playing since she was 10 and has played national and international tournaments.
She sent videos of herself playing to a shortlist of schools at the beginning of 2015 and talks were ongoing until she signed off with Catawba this month.
‘‘Once you reach 18 there isn’t really much in New Zealand tennis-wise, unless you wanted to go professional, which I never really wanted to do,’’ she said.
The scholarship meant she would be able to study and continue to play, she said.
‘‘Most girls, if they didn’t go to America, would drop out and focus on their studies, so it’s a way to keep playing and not give it up.
‘‘It’s something I love to do. It’s definitely my passion and I love playing, love meeting all the people I have, but [professional tennis] is just such a different lifestyle.’’
She had had a lot of support from her family and friends, she said.
‘‘My family is so excited. My friends have been really excited as well, really supportive the whole time, which is cool, because I’ve definitely had doubts about it. They’ve definitely made it a lot easier.’’
Wooldridge had to juggle work, training and study for years, so is confident she will be able to handle the workload, which she said involved morning gym training and two-hour hitting sessions each day.
‘‘The coaches and everyone there are really supportive and really help you, so I think if you’re struggling and ask for help they will help you out.’’
Her goal was just to play good tennis and to perform well in a team environment, she said.
‘‘I really just want to play well for my school. That’s my main goal. I want to work really hard and get in the starting lineup and impress the coach. I’m really excited and I want to do well and work well with the team.’’
Olivia Wooldridge is about to take a scholarship to Catawba College in North Carolina.