Getting to know Eliza Dieck-Age 16
“The competitive charge I sense at tournaments energizes me.”
Interviewing Eliza Dieck takes me back to my first grade classroom in Johannesburg South Africa. Carpet time would always start with my teacher’s motto: “Smile, it turns on the sparklers in your eyes.” Eliza’s entire face smiles as she enthusiastically answers my questions about her sixteen year old life. Porter Gaud runners and tennis players hustle around us at the Porter Gaud athletic complex but Eliza is locked in on the task at hand. I make a mental note that the focus I see in Eliza during our interview is most likely what makes her a very tough competitor on the tennis court.
Eliza, thank you for your time. I am not sure who enjoyed getting to talk to a new person more, me or you!
by Lizl Kotz
Q and A with Eliza Dieck
Tell me about a day in the life of Eliza.
5:15 Alarm goes off
6 Lesson with Ben Simon at Randy Pate Tennis Academy
8 -3:15 School day
3:15-4:15 Break to eat a snack, do homework or just chill.
4:15-6:15 Porter Gaud tennis practice
6:30-7:30 Dinner. *My favorite dinner is my mom’s grilled chicken, sautéed green beans with mushroom rice.
How do your friends describe you?
Bubbly, happy, talkative and a hard worker.
Who motivates you?
I motivate myself. I’m very driven and have always been competitive.
What role do your parents play in your sport?
My parents love that I participate in sports. They are happy to pay for my training but feel it’s fair for me to put in the work to compliment my instruction. For example, if I work with my coach on my serve, they expect me to follow it up with serving a basket of balls on my own. My parents are good at communicating with my coaches and understanding the details of my training needs.
What do you enjoy about high school tennis?
I enjoy being a part of a team. Being with my teammates relaxes me during my matches. I noticed that I was playing better when I felt relaxed and now apply this to my matches during tournament play as well.
How have you matured as an athlete in high school?
I used to put too much pressure on myself to win. Now I focus on improving instead of winning so much. After every match, win or lose I am mostly interested in how I improved.
How would your opponents describe your game style?
I hope that they say I am fair. I am fast and mentally tough. I love hitting high, heavy balls to the backhand and look to follow in with aggressive play at the net.
Coach Hartsock describes you in the following way:
“Eliza Dieck is a strong competitor. She is quiet on the court, always focused on the task at hand. Her body language is excellent. Whether the point was won or lost, she walks up to the line with the same demeanor.”
Is this a learned behavior or just part of who you are?
Maybe a little of both. I see a lot of screaming and racket throwing during matches. My parents never allowed any of that. I knew as a young player if I acted this way my parents would send me home. I am always looking to improve and don’t waste time by being negative on the court.
What is one life skill tennis has taught you?
In a way tennis is a lonely sport. There is no-one on the court with you, no referee to keep your score. It really fosters independence.
What is in your tennis bag?
Babolat Pure Drive
Coppertone Sport sunscreen-really high SPF
Resistance bands to strengthen my shoulders
Muscle roller to roll out tight legs after my matches
Skittles (emergency snack when I am feeling blah during a match).
Eliza thank her coaches: Ivan Besancon, Ben Simon, Coaches Hartsock and Higgins for all of their help.