Alexandra Grilliot is naturally driven.
“I like playing tennis because I’m so competitive and I like working out,” Grilliot said. “Tennis is really fun for me.”
The Westfield Middle School seventh-grader and her doubles partner, Vibha Gogineni of Mason, Ohio, won five matches before losing to Hannah Ayrault, Atlanta, and Julia Seversen, Coto de Caza, Calif., 4-6, 6-1, 10-2 in the championship at the recent United States Tennis Association’s Girls 12s National Championships in Peachtree Corners, Ga.
“I was so ecstatic to win a silver ball as many haven’t won a ball before as it is very hard to do,” Grilliot said. “Only 24 of these types of trophies are given out per year to the top junior tennis players. Over 512 top junior players from all over the country enter these USTA Level 1 National tournaments that are only offered four times a year. “
Grilliot went 4-2 in singles at the national tournament, reaching the semifinals of the back draw.
Grilliot and Gogineni played in one previous tournament together, finishing third in a USTA Level 2 tournament in July in Michigan.
“Our chemistry is great, and we get along really well because both of us have a competitive spirit that works well on the court,” Grillot said. “We’ve been around each other for years seeing one another at tournaments.”
Grilliot said she has improved the most with her volleys and forehands.
“I’ve been working on my swing volleys because people like to lob in tennis and I like to take it out of the air,” said Grilliot, who plans to play on Westfield Middle School’s girls tennis team in the spring.
Grilliot, who takes lessons from Mark Woldmoe at Carmel Racquet Club, started learning at the age of 3. However, she started practicing more when she was 6 years old.
Her mother, Karen Grilliot, is her hitting and conditioning coach. Karen, who also teaches at Carmel Racquet Club, played NCAA Division II tennis at Wayne State University.
Alexandra, who previously lived in Carmel, competed in the USA National Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships in 2018. She qualified by finishing third in the 100 and 200 meters in the Junior Olympics Regional 7 Championships for ages 8 and under that year.