HINSDALE — Cassidy Sattler started playing tennis when she was young, but it was mainly with her dad, Tom Sattler.
While she wasn’t competing in big tournaments, she learned the basics and started to love the sport.
But adjusting to high school tennis proved difficult.
“The first day [as a freshman] was a big shock,” she said. “I didn’t even know if I would continue doing it because I thought I might not make the JV team. After the first day, I talked to my dad and he just encouraged me and told me, ‘Give it one more day.’ So I stuck with it and learned a lot more and really enjoyed playing the sport.”
As a sophomore, Cassidy Sattler settled into No. 2 singles for Hinsdale South’s JV.
Sattler wasn’t sure if she would be able to earn a role on the varsity her junior year, but over the summer something happened. She put in hours and hours of practice and things just started clicking.
“I wasn’t intending to take a spot on varsity, I just wanted to compete,” Sattler said. “But as I got into summer training I found my rhythm and I think being exposed to the top players on varsity and how they played really helped up my game. I got to see how it would be playing on the varsity team and I eventually landed a spot.”
Sattler is the varsity’s No. 2 singles player and Hornets coach Stephen Snider is thrilled, especially after seeing how much effort she put in.
“She really committed herself to the sport and during the summer she was playing 25-30 hours a week,” Snider said.
“She doesn’t have the same skill set as the girls who have been playing [USTA matches] since they were little, but what she does have is that her hustle on the court is incredible and she just gets to every ball.”
Now Sattler has earned a chance to compete on varsity and play some of the best tennis players in the area. Even when she dropped both her matches earlier this month at the Red Devils Invite, there were benefits.
“I think it was just a great opportunity to get experience,” Snider said. “Our conference isn’t as loaded as the teams we see in this tournament. She’s working really hard and when she comes off the court she’s a little down on herself but she understands the type of player she has to play against.”
The goal for the rest of the season is to just keep drawing experience and build a solid base for her senior year.
“My expectations are primarily to become more confident in my tennis skills,” Sattler said. “I’m getting to play against people who have played years and years and I hope to learn from them and get ready for senior year when I can think more about doing well at sectionals.”
There is one other goal she’d like to achieve: beating her dad. They didn’t play this summer because of all the time she spent practicing, but she’ll be looking for him. He welcomes the matchup.
“The day she beats me will be the proudest day of my life,” Tom Sattler said.