Born into a big tennis-loving family, it was only natural when, at age six, Amanda Nord’s grandpa put a racquet in her hand and began to teach her the game. But she didn’t have an immediate love for it, so while continuing with tennis, she also picked up dancing, soccer, and basketball.
“It definitely took a while for me to develop a love for this sport,” says the senior, who is one of Fox Chapel Area’s all-time brightest stars in girls’ doubles tennis. “But the more I started to play and compete, the more I really enjoyed it.”
Sometime during elementary school, Amanda got more serious about her game and now has the trophies and medals to prove it. She is a two-time PIAA doubles champ and won the WPIAL AAA doubles championship three times – the first two times she won with Laurel Shymansky and, in 2016, with newcomer Charlotte James. She’s also played in international tournaments and when she was younger, Amanda was the area’s top-ranked United States Tennis Association (USTA) junior player in her age group.
Going into her final year of high school tennis, Amanda has her sights set on adding to her trophy collection with a fourth WPIAL title and a third state championship win. If she does, the gregarious senior will become the most decorated girls’ doubles player in the PIAA and WPIAL.
Becoming that good of a player takes a lot of practice and training, but Amanda, whose tiny frame packs an amazingly powerful swing with a lot of pace on the ball, thrives on the process of improving her game. She plays about four times a week year round, works out with a trainer twice a week, and also is so self-disciplined that she goes to the gym on her own for extra workouts. Amanda says she also watches the big grand slams to learn from the pros, especially when her tennis role model Genie Bouchard is playing.
“My motivation comes from the fact that I know I am constantly improving every time I step foot on the court,” she says. “I always know I can play better and that keeps me playing. Plus, I like that it takes so much coordination and patience to be able to play the sport, and to say I can play tennis well is a cool thing.”
Amanda’s Fox Chapel Area High School coach Alex Slezak has seen her evolve since the days when he taught her physical education at Kerr Elementary School.
“I have watched her grow from a little girl to the young lady she is now,” he says. “It’s not everyday that you have that kind of background with a player. She is a fine example of what it means to honor family, school, and herself through competitive athletics.”