For Media resident Vanessa Nommensen, the sport of tennis runs in the family.
Her father, Sven, was ranked among the top 300 players in Germany and also coached several top junior players in the country. However, it's his daughter who may end up leaving the biggest mark on the sport in the family.
After an outstanding year in both regional and national tournaments that saw Nommensen post a 45-19 record in 2010, she is now ranked No. 3 in the Girls 14-and-under division for the Middle States region, and No. 95 nationally.
"My parents have been very supportive throughout all of this," said Nommensen, who was introduced to the sport at the age of 8. "Even though my dad has a background in tennis, he mainly just hits with me and leaves the technical stuff to my coach."
Nommensen’s daily schedule is one which would intimidate even the most seasoned of workaholics. A fitness routine in the morning is immediately followed by four hours of school before she heads to Arthur Ashe East Tennis Education in Philadelphia. She trains there for up to four hours a day, four days per week under the watchful eye of her coach, Jon Glover, working on adding pace to her shots and developing an all-court playing style.
In addition to her work with Glover, Nommensen also practices at the Healthplex in Springfield during the winter and Idle Hour Tennis Club in the summer.
After a full day of practice, Nommensen then arrives home around 8 p.m. to start on homework assignments for the next day. However, Nommensen said the demanding schedule is something which she has grown accustomed to.
"It was difficult in the beginning, but I’ve been doing it for a while now, so its something that I’ve gotten used to," said Nommensen.
When the school week is over, Nommensen spends up to 25 weekends a year competing in some of the biggest junior tournaments throughout the region, in addition to a handful of weeklong Super National events throughout the year.
Her tournament schedule has become so rigorous that the family made the decision two years ago to enroll her at Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School, an online academy.
"Taking classes from home has just made it a lot easier to travel for tournaments because there’s more flexibility," said Nommensen.
In addition to her individual results, Nommensen has also represented the Middle States section in Zonals competition against other regions in the country. She’s posted a 12-2 record overall in the past three years, and went undefeated in all five singles matches last year.
Despite the strong results against players her own age, Nommensen said she is already looking towards the future with her tennis.
"I want to be part of a top ranked college team and then go from there," said Nommensen. "It would be great to try and turn pro someday as well."
Nommensen said she is currently getting ready for the Easter Bowl in April, a Super National tournament in Rancho Mirage, Calif., that is considered to be one of the four biggest junior competitions in the country.