For women’s tennis graduate student Meredith Roberts, the sport has been a large part of her lifestyle for as long as she can remember.
At the age of four, she instantly fell in love with the game after her parents enrolled her in a tennis class.
As a novice, Roberts enjoyed the experience of being out on the court alone because all of the blame fell on her shoulders.
And she had to focus on individual improvement in every match.
“When I was little, I liked tennis because it was an individual sport, and I could kind of control the outcome. It was all about me,” Roberts said.
While Roberts has grown as a player over time, her approach towards the game remains ever-changing.
In college, she has learned to embrace the team aspect of tennis.
She fully realizes it’s not all about her.
Now, that same tennis loving girl is a veteran presence on a Belmont squad that is taking on its first year in the Missouri Valley Conference.
“I’ve enjoyed college because it’s a team sport. In the juniors, you’re on your own. It’s you and your parents,” Roberts said. “Now, I actually prefer being with teammates on the court and figuring it out with somebody. It’s a lot easier than figuring it out by yourself.”
After stints at Texas Christian University and Mississippi State University in her early college years, Roberts is all in on Belmont.
She heard about the program through a pair of friends, who ultimately convinced her to make the transition to Nashville.
“I had a few friends on the team here from the juniors, Summer Henry and Peyton Lee, and they bragged about their experiences.” Roberts said.
This season Roberts has come into her own as a tennis player with years of experience under her belt.
Her on-court trails give her the ability to assist a team that consists mostly of underclassmen players, head coach Dané Vorster said.
“She obviously has a lot of experience behind her, and that has helped the culture of the program,” Vorster said. “She’s been able to comment on those experiences and has seen what has worked on other teams, so she’s been a help to some of the younger players.”
The savvy veteran makes sure the team maintains the same mentality going into every match.
The goal is simple.
Win the MVC, Roberts said.
That journey began with a close 4-3 win over Valparaiso University on March 19 in what Roberts calls a memorable win.
“It was a 4-3 win, and those only come so often. They’re always really fun, and it’s on the edge. It was a really great moment,” Roberts said.
No doubt, Roberts is a crucial part of the team.
In that match she played an intense three set clincher the No.5 spot giving the Bruins their first conference win.
Boasting a tenacious play style, Roberts has won six singles matches this season.
Alongside a carousel of teammates, the 5-foot-4-inch Jackson, Mississippi native has also won six doubles matches to date.
“She is relentless. You have to work for any point against her. She hates to lose,” Vorster said.
After a 4-0 vs Missouri State University, the Bruins most recent victory came against the University of Illinois-Chicago in thrilling 4-3 fashion again.
Roberts again clinched the victory for Belmont at the No.5 spot with 6-2 and 6-4 set victories, extending the team’s winning streak to three.
Currently undefeated in conference play, Roberts will continue to help her team keep its focus.
“Our goal from the beginning was to win conference. We had a really tough schedule at the beginning of the year,” Roberts said. “We’re all playing well right now, but when you lose, you learn a lot. It seems to be paying off so far.”
This article was written by Ty Wellemeyer