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Hayley Thompson dominates on the court with her backhand

Senior Hayley Thompson has put all aspects of her game together to be successful.

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Hayley Thompson

Hayley Thompson

John Fajardo/ Long Beach State Athletics

John Fajardo/ Long Beach State Athletics

Hayley Thompson

Matthew Simon, Sports Editor

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For Long Beach State senior tennis player Hayley Thompson, her hours of practicing her backhand are starting to pay off as she continues to win on the court.

The senior, who has played in almost every level Flight at tennis tournaments, had her biggest win after defeating Loyola Marymount’s Jessica Perez Oct. 9 to win the Beach Tennis Fall Tournament Flight A championship.

The weekend was a culmination of the work Thompson put in over the course of her career at LBSU.

“She came back from summer ready [to play],” LBSU head coach Jenny Hilt-Costello said. “That’s why we were looking for chances to give her opportunities against that top flight player, because she deserves [it].”

Looking for what would bring her success, Thompson has tweaked her game constantly and winning the tournament was the biggest career moment that she could remember.

“It was a tough fight,” Thompson said of her win against Perez. “But, I had my team cheering by my side. They were making me laugh during the match and it was a good time.”

Thompson credits her backhand as her biggest weapon and her main focus for winning points.

“She does everything well all over the court,” Hilt-Costello said. “She really doesn’t have any weaknesses and it’s great to see it all coming together and seeing her play her best tennis.”

Hilt-Costello has been coaching Thompson since her freshman year and said she is proud of all the work she’s put in to perform at a high level.

“Hayley has always been a hard worker,” Hilt-Costello said. “So, [it’s] not surprising that she’s continuing with her good effort out here on the courts. What we we’re really seeing is her putting together all the different pieces and the tools she has together.”

While the senior knows what her strengths are, she knows what areas of her game need work for her to improve.

“My forehand [could improve],” Thompson said. “The past two years it’s been up and down, but I’m finally getting that back.”

Growing up and improving her style of play, Thompson says that she’d compare her game to former professional tennis player Justine Henin – who was known as one of a few professional women players to use a single-handed backhand.

While it’s easy for the senior to talk about tennis, she also knows academics are important for her future.

“It’s my life now,” Thompson said. “I go to school and play tennis. It’s all I know.”

Along with playing giving her an avenue to play tennis, Thompson has had memories she won’t soon forget.

“It’s a really fun atmosphere and environment for practice and playing with the team,” Thompson said.

While tennis and school are her priorities at the moment, Thompson knows exactly what she wants to do when she stops playing and graduates.

“I want to be a tennis coach and then hopefully open my own [tennis] academy,” Thompson said. “I don’t want an office job and I like being outside and if I can make that my career that would be the best thing for me.”

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