Sophomore Natalie Block, ranked 17th nationally and third in Florida and the Southeast per TennisRecruiting.net, walked away victorious in the girls’ 18s final to claim the 2020 USTA (United States Tennis Association) Florida Sectional Tennis Championship.
“Over quarantine, I was struggling a lot with my tennis and getting back into competing, so winning the title was really special for me,” Block said. “It was a validation of the hard work I’ve put in over the last couple months.”
Heading into the competition, Block played while battling an ankle sprain she sustained the week prior. While this limited her preparation, Block proved able to secure her first USTA Florida singles title since winning the girls’ 14s title in 2018.
“The weekend before Bobby Curtis [the competition] I sprained my ankle, and we were unsure as to whether I would even be able to play,” Block said. “I didn’t practice at all until the Friday before, but I wanted to at least try and play. Fortunately, I was able to play through it.”
In the 12s, 14s and now 16s, Block has achieved the number one ranking, a streak she understands will take dedication and commitment to continue.
“My state ranking is really fulfilling,” Block said of her number one rank. “Like the title, it is really rewarding, but I also have to keep working hard to maintain it.”