By BILL TAMBURRINO
Jessica Failla is 14 but she recently won the under 16 Esme Pearson Memorial Junior Open Tennis Tournament at the Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego. There was a 14 and under division.
The tournament was a two-weekend event. On May 19-20 Jessica opened play with a victory over Madison Ross in straight sets 6-0 and 6-1. All of Jessica’s wins were in straight sets. In the round of 32 Jessica beat Drew Spinosa 6-1 and 6-1. She beat Anna Ustinova 6-1 and 6-3 to advance to the quarterfinals on May 22-28.
Jessica advanced to the semifinals by beating Jacqueline Pelletier 6-2 and 6-2. In the semifinal match Jessica was victorious over Natalie Da Silva 6-1 and 6-2.
Jessica beat Rebekah Anderson 6-3 and 6-4 to win the tournament on Memorial Day.
The 14-year-old tennis player just finished her freshman year at Mountain Valley Academy with a 3.8 GPA.
As a toddler, Jessica didn’t spend much time playing with a rattle. She started playing tennis as soon as she could hold a racquet and walk.
Both of her parents, Greg and Katrina Failla, are tennis professionals at San Vicente Resort. Greg and Katrina are Jessica’s main coaches but she does go for lessons twice a week in Rancho Bernardo with Lee Merry.
Jessica started playing in tournaments at the age of 8. By the time that she was 12, she loved the game so much that she competed in a tournament nearly every weekend.
Jessica does not feel pressured while playing tennis.
“So many girls play tennis for their parents or coaches and have a lot of pressure on them,” she said. “Although tennis is my passion, I play because I truly love the game. I am very competitive and always want to win, but I have learned that tennis isn’t all about winning. But winning is a lot more fun that losing.”
Jessica plans on attending college but is not sure if she will play tennis in college.
“I believe that Jesus has given me a gift to play tennis and I want to use that gift to the best of my ability,” said Jessica. “Whether I play college, pro or never win another match it is in God’s hands. I just want to be the best that I can be.”