TAMPA — When Whitney Daws started playing tennis just over a year ago, she was raw. Fighting on the court with her husband, coach and mentor J.R., Whit struggled early, and disappeared from the scene for a time. When she returned, she was a different player — fiestier, more determined and pregnant.
That didn’t stop her from joining Ultimate Tennis, and her debut did not go well. As a 3.0 playing in her first league of any kind, she and baby Gavin lost her first match 6-0, 6-0.
Whitney/Gavin lost their second, third and fourth matches, too, by a whopping 36-8 margin.
Whitney/Gavin was 0-5 at one point. But in their last match of the season, a few months before Gavin would be ejected from her loins and come screaming into the world , they won their first match after dropping the first set. Whitney was eager to take on the 3.0s in her second season this spring, minus 20 or so pounds.
Ultimate Tennis, though, said “no.” When the Gavin-less Whitney tried to sign up for 3.0, UT insisted she play 2.5.
Whit was insulted. Her response: I WILL DESTROY AND RAIN FURY DOWN UPON YOUR 2.5 LEAGUE!!!!
And that she has. So far this season, Daws is wrecking folks, going 5-1 in the league, and looks like she’ll be heading to the playoffs as a No. 2 or 3 seed.
She won her first match this season in three sets, and since then has ravaged her opposition by scores that suggest UT should have let her play 3.0. The scores of her matches from week 2 to week 4 are scary:
- 6-0, 6-0.
- 6-1, 6-0.
- 6-1, 6-1.
How you like me now, Ultimate Tennis?
After her 6-1, 6-0 victory over Marlene Sokol back in week 3, Sokol told the HGM that Daws was “just too athletic. You could tell she played sports before. She got to balls I can’t get to, and she hit some really nice shots back.”
From a 1-5 record to 5-1, as well as a three-match doubles winning streak in USTA action with Nikki Spirakis, Whit has cemented her position as the club’s most improved player. In our view, she’s one of the Top 5 3.0 ladies at the club.
THE WHITNEY FILES
UT Record: 5-1 this summer, (6-6 overall).
USTA Record: 1-0 singles (3.0 over 18), 4-4 doubles (3.0 over 18), 0-4 doubles (7.0 mixed), overall 5-9.
College: FSU, Class of 2007
Work: Former teacher, current SAHM.
Started playing tennis: April 2014
Athletic background: Swim team, track, softball, cross country and cheerleading growing up. Played varsity softball as a freshman in high school. In college was a four-time gold medalist at the State Beer Drinking Games.
Favorite tennis player: Does not watch tennis on TV.
Career tennis highlight: Some of my net shots. The ones that make it over.
Tennis goals: Are we supposed to have tennis goals?