Woodland Hills’ Own: Pro Tennis Player Katrina Scott
Photographed byAl Bello / Staff, Getty Images North America
Although she had an impressive junior career, Katrina Scott, ranked #637 by the WTA, certainly didn’t expect to play in the US Open last September. But after several players dropped out due to COVID restrictions, the 16-year-old got a late wild card invitation—and she didn’t disappoint. The Woodland Hills native made it to the second round and was just two points away from winning the match when she lost to Amanda Anisimova, who was ranked in the top 30.
In November she turned pro, signing with Topnotch Management with representation by Meilen Tu, a Tarzana native and former player. VB editor Linda Grasso caught up with Katrina at her training base in Ohio to talk about the exciting experience—and the promising road from here.
How did you start playing tennis?
I was highly active as a child. One day after ice skating, a friend and I went to a tennis lesson and I continued—and here we are now. I started competing in tournaments shortly after turning 8. In the junior level I always played higher age groups to be challenged. Everyone was bigger, stronger, faster, and more experienced. But I stuck with it.
So how did the US Open wild card come about?
It was unbelievable because I was so far down the wait-list. Several players dropped out because of COVID restrictions, which moved me up the ladder. And then I believe a few players in the main draw also pulled out, which moved players in the next position up. I got pushed further up. When we found out that there was a chance I’d get in, we were checking the list several a day! Finally, right before the deadline, one player pulled out and I got the wild card. We flew to New York the next morning and began the testing and quarantine process.
“In the junior level I always played higher age groups to be challenged. Everyone was bigger, stronger, faster, and more experienced. But I stuck with it.”
What was that experience like? one minute you are practicing in the Valley and the next you are sharing a locker room with the Williams sisters!
So many feelings: surprise, happiness, pride, and then fear, worry, anxiety and million thoughts. Everything was surreal. I was so excited to play my first main-draw US Open.
Meet anybody interesting?
Because of COVID, the interaction restrictions were pretty tight, but I did get a chance to meet a few players. I also got a chance to hit with Bernarda Pera, which was awesome; she’s a really cool person.
What’s your daily life like?
Prior to COVID-19 I was active, traveling a lot, playing tennis tournaments and practicing. Practice is three hours of hitting and one hour of fitness, Monday through Saturday. Afterward I study (she is home schooled). Sundays are for recovery and resting, or maybe hanging out with friends.
Last year you changed your training base to Columbus, Ohio, where your coach is located. moving to A new city during a pandemic must have been challenging.
The upside to the downside has to be no tournament pressure. I’ve been a little more relaxed going into practices because the time clock for improvement has slowed down and given me more time to polish up the finer points of my game. It was also nice that I had both my parents for most of the pandemic. (She is an only child.) My mom lives with me and my dad comes to visit every couple of weeks.