ANDOVER — The summer tennis season is upon us, the time when the elite players are busy with lessons, clinics, spending countless hours at a country club and hitting the USTA tournament scene.
It’s a busy time of the year, when the top players refine their game and become even better.
But it’s not for Andover High junior Samantha Camilo, who has been the No. 1 singles player for the MVC champion Golden Warriors the last two years.
“She has kind of eschewed the traditional methods of player development,” said Andover coach Alan Hibino, whose team was 19-2 this spring.
“She doesn’t really belong to a club. She occasionally works with a private coach in the off-season, but mostly is a self-made player. She is a tireless worker and a fierce competitor. She’s done it on her own.”
She’s certainly done an impressive job on her own. She was named the MVC Player of the Year this spring and she only lost three matches — twice to the top player from powerhouse Lincoln-Sudbury and once to the No. 4 seed in the individual state tournament.
In the MVC, Camilo made mincemeat of the competition, winning every match in straight sets with rarely a challenge.
Camilo does have a long history in tennis. She started playing when she was 4, she took lessons, she played for the Cedardale team for several years and she played in USTA tournaments up until she was 12.
And then it became too much.
“I just got sick of it all,” said Camilo. “I wanted to cut back. ... I stopped the (USTA) tournaments and I don’t play in the fall. I do take lessons at Cedardale in the winter, but that’s about it.”
Instead, Camilo is active in other areas. She plays field hockey in the fall, works in downtown Andover off and on year-round and focuses more on her academics.