Junior AJ Moore’s Forehand Smashes His Competition


Photo Courtesy of Natasha Schottland

Junior AJ Moore prepares for his matches during his warmups by hitting forehand shots, as well as practicing his backhand shots, volleys, overheads and serves. Moore’s favorite technique is his between the leg shot, also called a tweener.

As his opponent serves the fluorescent green ball over the net, the court is filled with the sound of varsity tennis player and junior AJ Moore’s squeaking shoes as he strikes the ball back right on the other side of the court to score.

Moore found his passion for tennis at the age of four by simply going out and hitting the ball with his father whenever he could. Now one of the top tournament players on his team, Moore shows his dedication to the sport and skills when playing other league schools.

“AJ really raises the bar in terms of our competitiveness with other league schools, and I really appreciate him rising to the occasion,” varsity girls’ and boys’ head tennis coach Natasha Schottland said. “Even though he isn’t a senior, he still steps up as an upperclassman to encourage the team to become very competitive.”

To reach his goals for improving as a player for the future, Moore tries to dedicate two-to-four hours a day to tennis, which generally averages to more than 14 hours per week. Moore has stood out in his ability to balance outside tournaments and matchplay, while also demonstrating a desire to make the team better and being ranked fourth in SoCal as a player.

“The goal with tennis for as long as I’ve been playing was to always get a scholarship into college,” Moore said. “It’s looking good so far, so I hope that I can achieve my goal of the scholarship.”

Among many other accomplishments, Moore has been a part of prestigious tournaments in and out of school, such as participating in the finals for sectionals, finals of a level 3 in Long Beach and finals of a level 4 in San Diego.

“He’s definitely very motivated, always determined, and he knows what’s best for the team,” varsity boys’ tennis player and senior Tom Doan said. “AJ is very consistent on the court, and he literally never misses, and that’s how he wins so many of his matches; that guy cannot lose.”

Moore’s perseverance as a player showed two seasons ago while putting up a tough fight against the number one in league Harry Yang, which led to a tie break at the end — and leg cramps. Although he did not win the match, Moor’s selflessness, competitive nature and leadership have helped him succeed in the program, according to Schottland.

“I would say I’m quick on the court and definitely competitive. I’ll try my best whenever it comes down to it, and I’ll give it my all every time,” Moore said. “It comes down to making the last ball, not going for too many wins, staying in it for a long as I can and just playing my best game.”