Lyndsey Tom doesn’t mind being coached by her father, Jon.
“We don’t really separate things, from him being the coach on the courts and my dad,” she said. “I still call ‘dad’ when I’m out there. It’s comfortable for me.”
Sometimes it’s even more helpful for her.
“If I need help, he can help me privately,” she said. “But sometimes it’s kind of hard because he expects a lot of me. He’s a lot more strict with me.”
The right-handed sophomore from Kapa‘a High School has been ranked No. 1 in the Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation since she entered high school last year.
She won the top spot for last year’s KIF tournament by defeating her teammate Crystine Ito, to take her to her first state tournament.
She went into the state tournament ranked seventh, but climbed the rankings.
Tom defeated then third-ranked Paige
Sumida of Waiakea High School in the quarterfinals to advance to the semis. Tom lost to second-ranked Brooke Doane of Kamehameha School — Kapalama in three sets.
Tom finished fourth overall.
But this year is different for Tom.
“This year I’m a co-captain so I kind of feel like I have more responsibilities and I have more motivation to keep doing good,” she said. “I need to have a positive attitude. I don’t want to be negative. I don’t want to represent my team in that way.”
She’s changed not only her attitude towards the game, but also her style of play.
“Before, I used to just rush it in, push it in,” she said. “But now I’m learning placement, to use different spins and things like that.”
At next week’s state tournament on Maui, she hopes to do just as well or better.
“My goal is to finish fourth again. Better would be good,” she said.
Tom started playing tennis several years ago. Prior to that, Tom had been an avid soccer player.
“My dad has always been really into it. He was really good when he was in high school,” she said. “But when I was 8 years old, I wanted to try something new, so I started playing tennis. Then when I was 12, I completely quit soccer.”
Tom found tennis to be more challenging for her. She said tennis requires more focus and is more of a mental game.
She is a member of the U.S. Junior Tennis Association and travels to O‘ahu and the Mainland for tournaments.
At this year’s KIF state qualifying tournament, Tom defended her title in what seemed like a rematch of last year’s. She faced her teammate Ito in the final match again, and beat her again.
“It was fun,” Ito told The Garden Island after the match. “I’d rather lose to her than play the other girls.”
As of press time, no official rankings were released for the state tournament. It will be held at the Wailea and Makena Tennis Clubs next week.
She, her father/coach and teammate Ito will be there.
Parents: Jon and Avis Tom
Tom sounds off on:
Her favorite tennis player: “I like Roger Federer. A lot of players have egos on the court. He’s really composed. He’s elegant in his style of play.”
Where she would be if she’s not at the tennis courts: “I like to go to the beach.”
What she’d be doing if she wasn’t playing tennis: “I do other things with school, like the Interact Club and the Japanese Club. Maybe I’d be playing volleyball. I played volleyball last year but I decided to focus more on tennis.”
Her college outlook: “I want to play in college. I want to go to California, someplace different. I don’t know what I want to study yet.”