Jamie Kim, staff writer
Top 15 or higher in her age divisions throughout her years in Southern California? Check. Playing number one on Beverly’s team for three consecutive years? Check. Consistently ranking as a top national player? Check.
With 10 years of experience, for she started at the age of seven, in the sport of tennis under her belt, senior Martina Bocci has signed the National Letter of Intent to join the women’s Division I tennis team at University of Massachusetts, Amherst (UMass Amherst) for fall 2016.
“When I finally committed to UMass Amherst, it felt great. I felt relieved that I’d found the right college and that it was the perfect decision for me. Since I was offered a full scholarship, I felt that I was wanted to be part of their team, and that’s always a good feeling to have,” Bocchi said.
Although Bocchi did not play with Beverly this year, she is currently spending more time focusing on the sport outside of school. One of her recent wins includes making it into the quarterfinals stage of a national tournament in an under-18s division.
“Unfortunately, I did not play with the team this year, so in a way, for me, the season finished last year, and it was truly very sad. With Coach [Mike] Margolin not coaching girls tennis anymore and some of my friends leaving the team, it did leave me in tears,” Bocchi said.
She chose UMass Amherst due to the appeal of its location, environment and academics.
“When I visited UMass Amherst, I fell in love with the city and the campus right away. I really like the cold weather and [that it is] not such a big city. As a tennis player, I also liked the girls on the team very much that we became great friends right away, and that’s very important for athletes because you need to feel comfortable around the people you train/work with,” Bocci said. “Also, the school academically is great. They help you in any way they can when you’re having trouble, and it’s in their best interest to see you succeed. So that, along with the other stuff I liked, was what I liked the most.”
While she currently holds numerous wins and awards, two-time Ocean League champion of 2013 and 2014 Bocchi knows that UMass Amherst will benefit her greatly.
“I hope to become a better tennis player and person overall while I’m there,” she said. “I hope to become more independent than I am now, although it’ll be very hard since I’m away from my family.”
All in all, Bocchi is excited to pursue her collegiate tennis career.
“When I play, I feel like I’m very relaxed, which is a great feeling,” Bocchi said. “Tennis has affected my life because it started as a hobby that I played for fun, just following my older brother’s footsteps. As I kept playing, it became a great part of my life.”