Growing up in Kelowna, Lily-Ana Kreutzer was active in several sports, playing soccer as well as other activities popular amongst athletic kids.
But when she first grabbed a tennis racquet at the age of six, something felt right. It wasn’t long before tennis was her main sport as she left the other behind to focus on the hard court.
“I really liked tennis when I first tried it,” Kreutzer said before a recent training session at the Okanagan Mission Tennis Club. “I started when I was six and then I began tournaments around 11. When I tried it I just loved it. Now it’s the only thing I do. It’s what I am focussed on.”
Now, 15 and heading into Grade 11 at Okanagan Mission Secondary, Kruetzer is coming off her toughest tournament test yet as she played at the Under-16 Junior National Championships in Toronto at the end of August where she matched up against many of the top young female tennis players in Canada.
The competition was stiff but Kreutzer was up to the challenge as she went 2-and-2 in four matches including wins over top players from Alberta and Quebec.
“I thought I played well,” she said of the competition, her first outdoor nationals. “It was really tough. I wasn’t sure I was going to win a match. It was exciting for me. I like the tough competition. It makes me want to play better. It gives me more confidence and shows me it’s possible to play as well as the girls that are ranked higher.”
Coached by Holger Nierfeld, Kreutzer will use the result as a motivator as she gets set for another high school season as well as some more tournaments through the winter and spring.
Nierfeld says the results in Toronto proves she is on the right track.
“It was the first time she went. We decided to go and see what happens. Getting two wins out of it….we’ll take that,” said Nierfeld, adding that Kreutzer has a wide range of talents. “She’s an all-around player. She can play at the base line or at the net.”
With a couple more years of high school still to go as well as some more planned international tournaments, Kreutzer is moving forward in the sport, eventually hoping to turn her talent into a scholarship.
“I think tennis gives me a good opportunity to get a scholarship, go to the U.S. and play on a university team,” she said.