Most athletes gradually fall in love with their craft. Britney Dean, a junior tennis player at Florida A&M, found her love immediately.
Dean fell in love with tennis the first day she set foot on the court. She began playing at nine years old and played in the United States Tennis Association (USTA) junior leagues until high school.
Dean said early on in her career she wanted to stop playing and just be a kid. The presence of her dad always pushed her to continue to play.
“My dad was very supportive,” Dean said. “He drove me to all my games and he was definitely a supportive sideline coach.”
Throughout her career she received private tennis lesson with Ernie Peterson.
“Coach Peterson helped me tremendously throughout the years I have been playing tennis,” Dean said.
Dean claimed the number one spot on her high school tennis team all four years and was undefeated her senior year.
“Coach Peterson did not only teach me about tennis, but also about life,” Dean said.
Dean explained that her and Peterson had a vey close relationship until he passed away spring of last year.
Since coming to collegiate competition, the biggest adjustment for Dean has been the size of the team.
“In high school, the tennis team was much bigger than here at FAMU,” Dean said.
Dean said it was hard playing with a smaller group of players. It was different because everyone was so close. Everybody knew and cared about each other’s life on and off the court.
For Dean, college tennis took a little time to get adjusted to.
“Waking up for 6 a.m. workouts were almost the end of me,” she said.
Even with the scheduling difference, Dean said that the early training helped her become a faster and stronger player.
“My biggest obstacle since I came to FAMU was keeping personal life off the court,” Dean said.
“Dean is a very personal teammate,” teammate Alexis Brown said. “Sometimes her personal issues used to flow on the court.”
Dean has learned from her obstacles and has become a better tennis player for it Brown said.
“She is a fighter. She works hard for her points,” freshman teammate Shani Williams said.
Dean’s team goals for the season is to maintain high energy, stay focused and become MEAC champions.