from the Dothan Eagle
Hampton happy to be home
By Jon Johnson
Saturday, Apr 19, 2008 - 11:40 PM
Jamie Hampton is back home, sort of, today as the seventh annual Movie Gallery USTA Pro Classic women’s tennis tournament begins at the Westgate Tennis Center.
It’s on these Dothan courts that Hampton had many successful matches as a junior tennis star while growing up in Enterprise.
“I have a lot of good memories here,” she said. “I absolutely love it here.”
Now 18, Hampton has called Auburn home for the past five years, though she actually spends the bulk of her time living in Atlanta while training at the Racquet Club of the South.
While she’ll be testing her skills against the professionals at the Pro Classic as an invited wild-card entry, Hampton keeps her amateur status for now
as she continues to hone her skills in the quest to one day be a regular on the pro circuit.
“I love it that much that I would want to turn pro one day,” Hampton said.
Once she graduates high school this year, Hampton will eventually have to decide if she’d like to play first on the college level or turn professional.
As for now, she tries to soak up as much as she can from each pro opponent — whether its during a match or a practice session.
“At this level, everyone is competitive and each match is valuable (to learning),” Hampton said. “A lot of them will give a lot of advice and we’re a pretty close group.
“There are a lot of different styles out there, so you’re able to get a feel for everything.”
Hampton has struggled with several injuries over the past year, including a strained right shoulder last summer which kept her out of action for three months. Some pain in her lower back is also been bothersome, though Hampton says she’s feeling much better physically now.
“It was hard hitting overhands when I first came back, but I’m feeling good now and taking better care of my body,” Hampton said.
She’s played six pro tournaments this year, including participating last week in Palm Beach, Fla., where she made the second round of the qualifying draw.
As for today, Hampton doesn’t have any specific goals going into her qualifying match.
“I just want to go out and do the best I can and compete well,” Hampton said.