Rolle model: Tennis player having fun with career

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Tiya Rolle stood patiently on one of the lower courts Wednesday afternoon, helping grade-school children from the Pike County Housing Authority learn how to strike a tennis ball.

Rolle knows what it's like to be a small child looking for a sport at which she could be competitive.

&#8220I started playing when I was nine,” she said. &#8220And I'm 21 now.”

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Hers is an athletic family, with sister Asha leading the way. Asha has won the USTA Tennis Classic of Troy twice, and made it to the third round of the 2007 U.S. Open.

&#8220There's no jealousy there,” proud mom Sharon Rolle said. &#8220Tiya, I think, is more of the coordinator when they're together.”

Rolle agreed.

&#8220We're different people. There's not any jealousy,” she said. &#8220When she (Asha) wins, I feel her success, too. When she loses, it hurts me.”

Rolle bowed out in the qualifying rounds of the singles matches for the Troy tournament, but she and partner Margot Carter are in the quarterfinals of the doubles draw.

&#8220This is my first time playing with Margot,” Rolle said. &#8220She saw that I was looking for a partner to play doubles, and we went out there and won.”

Right now, 21-year-old Rolle is working on a more rounded game.

&#8220Tiya's trying to add diversity to her game, work on the transition to the net game to be a more complete player,” Sharon Rolle said.

Rolle sees playing on the professional tennis tour for about three more years. After that, she has plans outside tennis.

&#8220I'm going to continue to do this while I study law online,” Rolle said.

It takes a lot to get two daughters onto the pro tour, Sharon Rolle said.

&#8220It takes a lot of work,” she said. &#8220For them, it's the physical work - getting out there and practicing and working out. But it takes a lot of support, too, whether that's helping them while their traveling or making sure they're eating right or getting the right coaching.”

Rolle and Carter play the winner of Maria-Fernanda Alves/Stephanie Dubois and Angela Haynes/Mashona Washington today.