Girls Tennis: Nina Bertino transforming into singles sensation for Joliet Catholic
By Jeff Vorva For Sun-Times Media September 29, 2013 8:52PM
Nina Bertino, of Joliet Catholic | Gary Middendorf/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 1, 2013 6:15AM
For Joliet Catholic sophomore Nina Bertino, court almost always is in session.
The Bertino family has a tennis court in its back yard, and that court has been used a lot over the years.
Parents Paul and Jennifer Bertino had the court built 10 years ago. The court has been used morning, noon and night by older sister Jessica, who played two years at Bradley University, Nina and Dominic, who are standouts at Joliet Catholic and younger sister Mia, an up-and-comer in the sixth grade.
Some neighbors come over to play, too. Chad and Lucas Randall were top players for Lockport who are playing for the University of St. Francis and who hone their skills on the Bertino court.
Bertino is a part of Joliet Catholic’s youth movement. She was 10-5 in her first 15 matches of the season as the team’s No. 1 singles player. The freshman doubles team of McCoy Hutchison and Maddie Bauer has burst onto the scene in a big way, including splitting two matches with the Providence powerhouse duo of sisters Maggie and Kelly Ruane.
“The sectional seeding has not been done yet, but the way things are going, I would be extremely surprised if Nina is not the No. 2 seed and the doubles team is not seeded first or second,” Angels coach Mark Streitz said. “They all have a great chance of going to the state tournament.”
In 2012, Bertino teamed with Alexis Bauer and made it to state. They won their first match 6-0, 6-3 over Peoria Richwoods’ Lily Doung and Claire Goldhammer before dropping their next two matches.
Bertino is adjusting to singles.
“I was very nervous going from doubles to singles,” she said. “I do play singles in USTA tournaments but I always have nerves. I always start off a little nervous, but I’m getting more comfortable playing.’’
She’s been thrown into the fire early.
“She is playing some of the top players in the state,” Streitz said. “She lost to (Providence’s Hannah Davis) twice, and top players from Benet and Marian Catholic. She has won against everyone else. She’s just a sophomore and a very good player.
“She’s very steady,” he added. “She has good groundstrokes. She has a lot of shots — some drop shots and some short game. She has a nice serve. She is a typical backcourt singles player for the most part but she will come up to the net and volley, too.’’
Bertino can’t contain her enthusiasm for the sport.
“I love the competition. I’m a fierce competitor,” she said. “I love being independent playing singles. I like team sports, but I really enjoy the independence of tennis. I think it has made me a better person.’’