Sewickley Academy athlete of the week: Evelyn Safar

Wednesday, November 6, 2019 | 2:28 PM

Evelyn Safar

School: Sewickley Academy

Sport: Tennis

Class: Junior

Claim to fame: Evelyn Safar recently won the No. 1 singles match in the PIAA finals to secure a state championship for Sewickley Academy girls tennis.

It’s the second year in a row Safar and the Panthers have taken home the title.

“We went back with a really similar team and only lost one senior from last year,” Safar said. “Having that same group, we all knew what it felt like. We were all so hungry to get back out there and to try as hard as we could to repeat. We all knew exactly what it would take and all the hard teams we would face.”

How did you deal with any added pressure to repeat?

A really big thing me and the other two captains, Victoria Keller and Simran Bedi, and our coach pushed is that we had to walk into (states) with no pressure. When you think you have to win or should win, the stakes become so much higher. We knew other players and teams would be good, so we didn’t walk in with expectations. We just had to play our hearts out.

What was the key to going undefeated individually through the postseason?

It has a lot to do with the environment around the team and the support I get from my teammates. Individually, playing tennis, you’re alone on the court, unlike the support you get in (doubles) tennis. I also knew they were all standing behind me and if you win it’s for the team. When you’re on this team, you’re always playing for more than just yourself.

You had to face players like three-time WPIAL Class AA singles champion Laura Greb from Knoch. What was it like playing her with the PIAA title on the line?

Walking into that match, I knew it was going to be a tough one and just played my heart out. I always try not to let my nerves get the best of me, because tennis matches can go either way. It’s one of the things I love about the sport.

What has the recruiting process been like?

The process is just getting started. I’ve sent emails out to coaches, but I haven’t gotten into it too heavily yet. I’m getting to know coaches and programs, and it’s really super exciting to learn about coaches, their teams and what it’s like to play in college.

What else do you enjoy at Sewickley Academy?

There are two big things aside from tennis. I found a love for pottery there, which isn’t something I thought I would. I really enjoy ceramics, particularly wheel throwing. I’m also president of my school’s Key Club, which is a volunteer organization, so that’s something else I didn’t expect. Sewickley Academy has a way of pushing kids outside of their comfort zone and finding things they’re passionate about that they wouldn’t have previously thought about.

If you could play with one pro, who would it be?

Definitely Roger Federer. He’s been my favorite for a very, very long time. He’s a great competitor, but when he walks off the court he’s so humble and nice. I really look up to him. He’s an excellent role model for all tennis players.