Wrist injury proved beneficial for Glenview tennis standout Chiara Lommer

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It’s been a while since Chiara Lommer has been home.

Lommer couldn’t recall when exactly she was last in Glenview — maybe three weeks ago, maybe a month — when talking on the phone from Louisiana on Monday evening.

“I don’t even remember the last time I saw my house,” Lommer said.

The last several weeks have been packed full of tennis for Lommer, a five-star recruit, according to tennisrecruiting.net. The junior-to-be has traveled from Indianapolis to Aruba to Louisiana for tournaments.

Lommer isn’t complaining about her schedule, though. She loves tennis, she said, and her workload was the complete opposite last summer.

Lommer missed eight months last year due to an injury to her left wrist. She didn’t play in any tournaments from February to September as doctors tried to figure out what was causing her pain for much of that time. They struggled to properly diagnose her injury, she said, until one figured out that a bone cyst was pinching her nerve.

Lommer had surgery to correct the injury shortly thereafter, and then slowly came back after a month and a half spent recovering from surgery.

“It took probably 6-8 weeks before she was hitting to the level she was before the injury, but it took six months before she was competing full out and confidently again,” Lommer’s coach, Jason Winegar, said via email. “It didn’t really all come back together until January.”

Although Lommer said being away from tournament tennis for that long was immensely frustrating, not being able to compete has helped make her even better this year.

“I really realized that in those months that I was out that I really missed tennis,” Lommer said. “It was a big deal when it was out of my life for that long. Now that I have it back, it’s been so easy going into every match saying, ‘I’m going to fight for this match as hard as I can’ because I know what it’s like to not have tennis.”

An example of that fight came in the Midwest Closed Girls 16s final, which took place in Indianapolis on June 26. Lommer started poorly against Isabella Lorenzini that day. Lorenzini won the first set 6-0, but Lommer fought back. She won the second set 6-3 before Lorenzini won the third-set 7-6 (4).

Losing has been a rarity for Lommer this summer. She had won 22 straight matches heading into the Midwest Closed, according to Winegar, and she won the Midwest Closed’s doubles title with Lorenzini.

Lommer’s goal is to play for a top-flight Division I school — she’s on track for that, as she’s ranked No. 38 nationally among rising juniors on Babolat’s national list as of Tuesday — and she’s been homeschooled since ninth grade in an attempt to get to that level. She does an online program through George Washington University, one which allows for flexibility in her schedule.

The ability to meld school with tennis effectively has helped her improve on the court. Lommer estimated she’s able to train double the amount of time during the week — about four hours a day versus two — because she’s homeschooled. That especially helps her fitness, she said, as she’s able to do about two hours of fitness training a day.

She spends about six hours a week at 360 Athlete in Glenview, Winegar said. She works on physical training there, but also does segments that focus on breathing control, eye control, mental concentration and stress management.

Another benefit of being homeschooled, Lommer said, is that it allows her to keep a clear mind on the court.

“I feel like I don’t have any of the drama or any issues,” she said. “I can just go into the match purely thinking about tennis.”

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