By: Pat Garry
Kylie Boyer is a normal 16-year-old girl who is learning to drive, loves being with friends at sporting events, and loves to shop for clothes and music. Oh and by the way, she also loves competing on the Mayo High School girls’ tennis team.
Now in her junior year, Kylie has been hitting tennis balls for almost 15 years. “My first memory of tennis is my dad bringing me along to all of the Century girls’ practices when he coached them,” she said.
That early memory has blossomed into a reality for Kylie that has enhanced her busy, albeit very young life.
“There are a lot of cool things about tennis. I love being able to travel around the country to tournaments in California, Florida and Texas and meet so many amazing people,” she said. “This summer I had the opportunity to meet Billie Jean King!” (I also like dressing up in really cute outfits…)
If Kylie had to pick a negative side of tennis, it would be not having a team on the court with her. “It can get pretty lonely playing a singles match.” Mirroring her role model, Monica Seles, Kylie developed her lethal forehand from watching Dad-supplied tapes of the phenom, in her glory days. But despite a pretty wicked two-handed forehand of her own, Kylie’s strongest attribute might well be her mental game. “I always give 100 percent and I am willing to change my strategy to find a way to win,” she said.
In a change of plans, Kylie, instead of shooting for the state singles title, teamed with Kate Rosenow to play doubles in this year’s state tournament. Kylie won a state doubles title as a freshman. She was ranked in the top five in singles in the state this year.
Another big part of Kylie’s tennis life includes her participation in USTA (United States Tennis Association) tournaments. The “Boyer Bunch” travel together for Kylie’s off-season out-of-town competitions. “My family plays a big part in my success,” she said. “They are always there for me, especially when we travel to tournaments. Since USTA tennis is played all individually, I consider my family, my team.”
Outside of tennis, Kylie enjoys swimming, or just hanging out with friends. College is a must for her, and she aspires to study criminal justice and ultimately become a police officer. She hopes to continue on with Division I tennis, and attend a university on the east coast. Kylie’s years of tennis training are attributed to many people, but she feels very fortunate to have had the professional guidance from the Rochester Athletic Club reps. “I have been really lucky to have had two amazing coaches; Brent Frueh and Steve Tacl, from the Rochester Athletic Club,” she said. “Brent was my coach for eight years, and he helped me with the basics and he taught me to trust myself as a young player. My current coach, Steve, has taught me to enjoy tennis, while tweaking it to allow me to compete with the top players…and, he tolerates my crazy teenage attitude.” Kylie has a lot of talent and athletic ability, but more importantly, she has a great attitude and outlook on her game and on her life.
Tennis professional and Rochester Athletic Club General Manager Brent Frueh worked with Kylie from age 7. “The most unique thing about Kylie is her ability to hit the ball with two hands on both sides. This is not uncommon for a young child to want to use two hands when hitting a forehand, but as the player gets more comfortable and stronger that desire usually goes away,” Frueh said.
Thankfully, it never went away for Kylie, as her forehand is her best weapon. Achieving the high level of tennis that Kylie has reached requires a lot of hard work and sacrifice.
“Besides Kylie’s tennis abilities, most importantly she is a very good person,” Frueh said. “Tennis is one-on-one and very competitive, and players occasionally forget how important sportsmanship is…but not Kylie. She is always respectful and kind and has a great heart. If Kylie believes in herself, she has a shot at becoming a state champion. The skills are there.”
Steve Tacl is the Tennis Coordinator at the Rochester Athletic Club. “I've worked with Kylie in group and private lessons for more than a year and have known her for about 8 years, back when her head was maybe just above the height of the net,” Raci said .”Kylie’s competitiveness sets her apart from others. She is a natural fighter and competitor and she will admit that she is rather stubborn about making changes. But she has done a great job since I've been working with her about trying to improve her game by making changes, some not necessarily easy ones, to help give her more tools in her tennis toolbox.”
Kylie has set tough goals for herself and Tacl believes she is on the right track to reach them. “She is learning better how to adapt her game to the different styles of players—being a good "tennis problem-solver," he said..”
Mayo High School Girls Tennis Coach Dave Edwards said that Kylie is a hard worker in and out of season. “She plays tennis year round traveling to tournaments all across the country.,” he said. “ Kylie plays number one singles for us even though she would probably rather play doubles. My favorite story about Kylie is while in the state finals against Mounds View, we were losing early and on one of the change overs I was out there coaching. I told them we were going to try a strategy called ‘Australion’ when we were serving. It is something that we had not practiced. Kylie looked at me and said. We’re Cooked! But they did it, turned the match around, and won it.”
Dave Gunderson, Virginia, MN tennis coach, has known Kylie since birth. “The girls on my team really respect her abilities and her smile,” he said. “She seems to get along well with all of the players in and around our area.”
Gunderson said that Kylie has set some personal goals that are well within her reach. “I know that she would love to continue playing this great game at the next level, and she will,” Gunderson said.
College student Katie Kingston is Kylie’s cousin. “On and off the court Kylie always has a smile on her face. She's a very positive person, has a fun personality and can always turn my day around,” she said.
Katie admires Kylie’s “give it all” attitude on the court and is impressed with the respect she shows others off the court. “Even though I never played against her, we have played together many times,” Katie said. ”It’s always a pleasure and great fun!”
Joe and Amy Boyer are Kylie’s parents. Kylie became involved in tennis through her dad’s love for the game. She started playing tennis once or twice a week in group lessons and it very quickly became a daily activity. She played her first USTA event when she was 8 years old. She plays in about ten USTA tournaments during the nine-month off season; some in Minnesota and some require national travel. The time she invests in tennis requires her to be highly organized, and she uses her remaining time wisely for school work, friends and other activities. “As her parents, she makes us extremely proud,” Ann Boyer said. “While I have never played the game of tennis and admit I lose track of the score during matches, I never lose track of her character on the court.”.
“Whether it is calling a ball correctly when it is detrimental to her, or smiling and shaking her opponent’s hand while offering kind words after a win or loss; it’s these moments that show us how tennis has shaped her character - and sportsmanship,” her parents said .