Don’t let the cool demeanor trick you.
Webb School of Knoxville’s Audrey Yoon has a fiery intensity inside her when she steps onto the tennis court.
It’s a big reason the Lady Spartans’ rising senior posted a 30-0 record as their No. 1 player this spring and won the Division II-A state singles championship.
Two days earlier, Yoon was atop the lineup when Webb’s girls won their state-record 10th consecutive state team title and their 16th overall, also a state record.
“Her intensity is a quiet, inner-intensity,” Webb coach Jim Pitkanen said. “She’s one of the most fierce players I’ve ever coached.”
Yoon backed up her TSSAA state title the next week by winning the girls’ 18-under championship in the USTA State Qualifier for the Southern Closed.
However, Yoon, won’t play the Southern tournament because she’s scheduled to take standardized testing during the time, but it’s just a short respite from a busy summer of tennis.
“I’m looking forward to bigger tournaments in the future,” Yoon said.
And she won’t change her stoic style on the court.
It’s a different demeanor than the one of her sister Lauren, who won the 2018 Division II-A state singles title as a senior at Webb and just completed her freshman season at Emory University.
While Lauren shows more emotion on the court, Audrey follows the lead of her year-around coach, David Thornton of Knoxville Racquet Club.
“He really respects the idea of poise and having calmness on the court,” Audrey said. “For me, I do get upset. If I lose a point, I look kind of sad, still. I just feel like whenever I get too emotional, it messes up my game, so I try to stay calm.”
It’s worked as Yoon moved from the lower spots in Webb’s lineup the previous couple of years to the top spot.
She began her Webb career in eighth grade playing Nos. 5 and 6, and in 2018 was anywhere from Nos. 3-4.
Her unblemished record at No. 1 this spring is impressive considering her competition – and she didn’t lose a set.
Yoon posted three victories over Baylor players this spring, losing a total of four games in the three matches.
She also had victories over Chattanooga’s Girls Preparatory School, Hutchinson (twice), Harpeth Hall, Ensworth, and McCracken County, one of the top teams in Kentucky.
Yoon was 9-2 in doubles with Lili Roth and Anna Stout. She said tournament tennis prepared her the spring season at Webb.
“I think that’s where junior tournaments help me because these other girls, I had seen them before at tournaments,” Yoon said. “Although it seems like a scarier position, it’s just one match. I just had to get over the fact of (playing No. 1). I just had to accept that it’s just a match.”
There was another big adjustment for Yoon in the spring.
“This season was a bit different because this was my first time playing without my sister on the team,” she said, “so I had a chance to make closer bonds with the other players on the team, and just overall, Delaney (Bone) was new on our team, so it was just a fun experience to get stronger bonds.
“It was just different. I had never played at a higher position before, so I felt a little more pressure than usual. At the beginning of the season, I was super nervous to let my team down, but after the second half of the season I was enjoying it more and I wasn’t worrying about it too much.”
Yoon plans to play college tennis and has already taken a visit to Emory, seven-time NCAA Division III national championship program in Atlanta and 2019 semifinalist.
She’s also considering Claremont McKenna College near Pasadena, Calif., which was Division III runner-up in men’s and women’s tennis this spring, among several other schools.
Yoon is rated a four-star prospect by Tennis Recruiting Network, which ranks her as the No. 2 player in the state, No. 35 in the Southeast and No. 104 in the nation (as of June 8) for the 2020 class.
“Audrey will definitely play college tennis, and I hope it’s at Emory,” Pitkanen said. “I think it would be a unique college experience for Audrey and Lauren. They adore each other. I think they would have the time of their lives.”
Audrey could see it happening.
“I’m not sure about playing on the same team with my sister again, but if I could, that would be awesome,” Audrey said. “But if not, I just want to find a good college and also a good tennis experience, so I’m looking forward to anything, really.”