As the summer begins to wind down and fall sports teams begin preparing for their upcoming seasons, there are still a handful of spring sports stars looking to improve their game and stay fresh during the offseason.
One of those stars is Mayfield tennis’ Molly Null.
Null is coming off a stellar spring season at Mayfield in which she made a trip to the state tournament in doubles play alongside her sister, Megan Null.
The duo of Null/Null picked up first and second round wins at the state tournament in Lexington before falling on day two, bringing their dominant season to an end.
While a deep playoff run wasn’t in the cards this spring, Molly still boasts one of the better 2021 resumés, finishing the season with a 7-1 singles record and a 13-1 mark in doubles play.
Following a short break to begin the summer, Null returned to the court in late-June as she helped represent Team Southern “Heat” in the 25th anniversary of the World Team Tennis junior national championships at the USTA national campus in Orlando, Florida.
Null was joined by five teammates, including Paducah Tilghman’s Davis Rowton, to compete in a pod style round robin tournament against some of the best high school tennis players in the country.
Participants in the WTT tournament ranged from 14-18 years old and were restricted from competing unless ranked outside of the top-150 nationally.
16 teams from across the U.S. competed in the tournament with match play consisting of two girls singles matches, two boys singles matches and two mixed doubles matches.
Team Southern Heat, one of two “Team Southerns” competing in the tournament, finished in seventh place out of the 16-team field as they fell to eventual champion Central Indiana in a doubles tiebreaker.
Although Southern Heat didn’t come out on top, each player received vital competition experience during a time in which local events are few and far between.
For Molly, Mayfield head coach Denny Null said any experience is good experience during the summer months.
“Tournament experience like this is only going to help [Molly],” Null said. “It’s unusual to play in a tournament where you’re guaranteed as many matches as she played during that time so just getting exposed to that type of competition always helps.”
Following the state tournament style of competition she experienced in May, the WTT provided Null and other competitors the opportunity to compete at a high level without the high stakes they’ve grown accustomed to in high school play.
“When you do these team tournaments like this, none of the matches get recorded to your personal record,” Null said. “[At the WTT,] you get a lot of high-level players who are used to playing in matches where there’s a lot of pressure on them to do well to maintain their rankings, getting the chance to play the same level players but with none of the matches being recorded. So if you win, great, but if you lose, it’s not going against you, so it’s good for them.”
2021 was Null and her teammates’ first time competing in the WTT and following a successful run many have already voiced their desire to return next summer.
In the meantime, the Null family plans to continue offseason training as they prepare for what’s expected to be a big 2022 spring season at Mayfield.