Kirsten Magi overcame adversity while never losing sight of her goal — a U.S. tennis scholarship.
January 16, 2008
THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR, BURLINGTON
Kirsten (Kay Kay) Magi has endured a lot of adversity the past two years, but she never lost grip of her dream.
Magi, a Dundas resident and Grade 12 student at Burlington’s Nelson High School, realized her longtime dream by accepting a tennis scholarship to Purdue University.
“Last year and this year, I saw the opportunities I could achieve,” Magi said. “It made me more driven, kind of going after a dream.”
But chasing the dream wasn’t an easy road. There were the injuries to her shoulder, stress fractures to her feet, a bout of shingles and psychological self-problems. Combined, they pretty well wiped out the 2006 season.
“I had a lot of bumps along the way but I never lost sight of the dream. I got knocked down, but kept getting back up until I finally got it.”
She sought the aid of a sports psychologist to help her figure out mental aspects both on and off the court. Magi had no problems with the physical side. Her issues were psychological.
She had gone from basketball, a team sport with a whole team to give support and a coach, to tennis, an individual sport where the player is on the court all alone.
“Controlling emotions is a huge part of tennis,” Magi noted. “Working with the sports psychologist made me not only stronger as a player on the court, but as a person. I’m able to figure out what is important to me.”
Understanding how to bring the focus she had on the court to her everyday life has made a huge difference. She calls it a real character builder, especially being able to go through certain situations and figuring things out for herself.
Magi loves basketball and was a key member of Nelson’s senior girls’ team before concentrating on academics and tennis.
It paid off. An honour student, she learned how to sacrifice certain things and put everything into the task at hand. That was a scholarship.
“Tennis was exactly what I wanted to do and I was prepared to make the full commitment,” said the determined 17-year-old athlete. “I had taken all academic courses and there was just no time to manage basketball, tennis and school.”
She trains with the ACE Tennis Academy (ace + sistema) at the Cedar Springs Racquet Club with Pierre Lamarche and Mike Hall.
Last summer, she reached No. 37 in Canadian Women’s Open rankings, reaching the doubles national semi-finals and placing among the top 18 in singles play.
In 2004, she was among the top five nationally ranked players in Canada and was awarded the Ontario Tennis Girls’ All-Star Award. She went on to reach the doubles semi-finals at nationals while finishing sixth in singles.
Magi placed fifth at the Ontario Indoor championships the following year, but the injury bug cut her season short after qualifying for both the U-16 and U-18 national clubs.
“When I sat down a few years ago to plan the growth of my game, I wanted to gain experience,” she said. “I wanted to keep building up my game. It’s designed to peak at college.”
She had been talking with a number of U.S. universities but narrowed it down to Duke and Purdue. A tour of the facilities in West Lafayette, Ind., a meeting with coaches and players made Purdue a perfect fit.
“I really felt like it was somewhere I could have an impact and contribute more to the program,” she added. “If I can play on a team, play a lot, then my game can continue to grow.”
Purdue tennis coach Laura Glitz believes she has a real gift in her Dundas recruit.
“Kirsten is an athletic and tall left-handed player with a powerful serve and forehand,” Glitz stated on the Purdue website. “I believe she has tremendous upside to her game and will thrive in college. I look for Kirsten to impact the top of the lineup in singles and doubles.”