KATHERINE HUI AN EXEMPLARY FIGURE OFUSTA SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
SPORTSMANSHIP AND SUCCESS
SPORTSMANSHIP AND SUCCESS
JUNE 30, 2023 | BRENDEN FISHER
KATHERINE HUI AN EXEMPLARY FIGURE OF SPORTSMANSHIP AND SUCCESSUSTA SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
JUNE 30, 2023
San Diego’s Katherine Hui at the Racquet Club of Irvine SoCal Pro Series event. (Photo – Jon Mulvey/USTA SoCal)
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As a blue-chip, top prospect recognized by many as the nation’s top recruit out of high school, Katherine Hui has begun to put the tennis world on notice at a young age. Hailing from San Diego, the 18-year-old recently graduated from Santa Fe Christian High School, where she excelled both athletically and academically during her four years.
Like many young and accomplished tennis players, family was the primary reason for Katherine’s involvement in tennis. Hui’s parents, Yimei and Yan, were both born and raised in China before making their way to the United States. Both played tennis recreationally and, once Katherine was old enough, threw her into the mix as they thought it would be enjoyable for her.
While she began playing tennis at the age of four, it was not until she was seven years old that she competed in her first tournament.
“The tournament was at a local club with a few other girls,” said Katherine. “I don’t think I ended up winning, but I had a great time.”
The tournament was memorable enough to kick-start Katherine on her journey throughout her tennis career and led her to begin playing competitively just a few short years later. It was at this phase in her life that she first learned the importance of sportsmanship.
“Sportsmanship is a really big deal to me because when I was younger, I wouldn’t always call [lines] and my experience became sort of the opposite of what it is now,” explained Hui. “[While] I was taken advantage of sometimes by my opponents, I still kept a positive attitude throughout my matches.”
As Katherine’s game has evolved, her unwavering kindness, sincerity, and authenticity has remained. These qualities have assisted in the elevation of her skills while demonstrating to others how one can reap the benefits of being an excellent sport on the court. Sportsmanship means everything to Katherine.
“Sportsmanship means a lot to me. I believe that it’s one of the most important things in sports in general and obviously I value it a lot,” stated Hui. “You can show sportsmanship both on and off the court and I think one way of doing that is by being kind and friendly to your competitors, which is really important to me. I make friends with a lot of girls at tournaments and I think that is so beneficial because some of my tennis friends are some of the closest friends I have. Everyone is supportive of each other which is why I feel it’s important to be supportive and kind to everyone I come across.”
Hui believes in the importance of being kind to one’s opponents even when they may not be exhibiting good sportsmanship.
“I think being kind and friendly to your competitors is really important,” mentioned Hui. “[In tennis], I try to remember that I can only control certain aspects of the game, so sticking to my own values and remaining respectful, even when being mistreated, is really important. With this, I also need to know when the line is being crossed and when to stand up for myself, which is just as important. I believe in always trying to show kindness and respect because you never know what is going on with the other person you are playing with.”
While establishing herself as one of the best competitors on the court, Katherine has become increasingly recognized for her camaraderie and sportsmanship. Last summer, Katherine was awarded the 2022 USTA Sportsmanship Award for Girls’ 18s at the Billie Jean King Girls’ 16s and 18s National Championship in San Diego.
“[This award] meant a lot,” Katherine shared. “I didn’t expect it, not in a bad way or anything, but I thought it was so encouraging because I do try my absolute best to be sportsmanlike on court and be kind to everyone. Knowing that my efforts were seen by other people was really nice. It was an honor for me and I was really happy about it.”
Hui finds inspiration in numerous fellow competitors on the court, individuals she deeply admires for their exemplary sportsmanship. Among them is Mika Ikemori, who recently garnered recognition for her remarkable demonstrations of excellence in this realm, being honored with the esteemed 2023 Evelyn Houseman Lifetime Junior Sportsmanship Award.
“A lot of girls I grew up playing with are some of the sweetest people I have met and have inspired me to be a good sport on court. One of my close friends that I grew up with, Mika Ikemori, is one of the nicest people I have met and she is really sweet on court,” Hui added. “I’ve seen a lot of matches where girls have shown good sportsmanship whether it has been by complementing a shot or showing respect to each other even while playing in a very heated match. Players on the pro tour definitely have inspired me to show better sportsmanship.”
Both on and off the court, Katherine contributes as a positive force in the tennis community. A member of USTA SoCal’s Youth Leadership Council, Hui created unforgettable memories while serving in the Community Service Department.
“The Youth Leadership Council was such an amazing experience for me,” noted Hui. “Getting to meet new people who I’ve formed strong friendships with and serving the community through our love for tennis is something I’ll never forget. I originally joined to get out of my comfort zone as I wasn’t the most outgoing person. It has helped me discover my voice and strengthen my passion to help others through tennis.”
In reaping the fruits of her labor, Katherine now has an incredibly exciting future ahead of her as she is committed to Stanford University to further both her athletic and academic pursuits. An integral part of the nation’s number one ranked recruiting class, Hui looks to bring her talent and sportsmanlike ability to a Stanford squad that was just two wins shy from capturing its third national championship in just six years. Cardinal fans should be extremely excited about the talent that Hui brings to its already impressive roster.
Katherine shared her excitement about this next chapter in her life and what she looks forward to while transitioning into a more team-centric environment.
“I am very excited to be on a team,” Hui expressed. “I think tennis is such an individual sport and sometimes it can get lonely, but having a good group of girls around me to push me and inspire me to be better is really exciting. I love the girls on the Stanford team so it will be really fun.”
Before heading north in the fall, Katherine still has some business to take care of while competing in Southern California. Most recently, Hui, alongside Michigan’s Sara Daavettila, took home the women’s doubles title at the San Diego Barnes SoCal Pro Series event and will continue playing on the circuit this summer.
Katherine was excited to share advice to the next generation of tennis players about sportsmanship and how they can be sportsmanlike while having success on the court.
“One of the most important things for me is just remembering that the other person has their own perspective and things they are dealing with that you may not know,” Hui discussed. “Tennis is extremely competitive and there are times when you are so caught up in the moment, but it is crucial to take a second and try to think about things from other’s perspectives. While the sport is so competitive, you can still have success while also showing respect for your opponent. There’s a balance between the two and there’s not just one or the other. Always respecting your opponent no matter how close the match gets is so important to me. Remember that your success doesn’t depend on if you decide to be nicer to them. It doesn’t hurt to be nice.”
As she looks ahead to the future, Katherine says she aspires to play in the junior U.S. Open again and hopes to earn a main draw in the event. Hui added that she intends to “do well in college and keep improving my game, and then if everything goes well, to play professionally afterwards.”