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Oxford Tennis Pro Serves on the Court and in the Community

By Evelyn Angle
Hottytoddy.com intern

Tennis professional Ashley Freeman turned her lifelong passion of tennis into a career, and now she’s sharing her love for the game with the younger members of the Oxford community.

Ashley Freeman working on proper tennis grips. Photos provided by Ashley Freeman.

Freeman said she was practically born with a racquet in her hand.

“My dad was the high school coach so I grew up around the sport my whole life,” Freeman said. “I later started playing tournaments all throughout the state and eventually was ranked No. 1 in Mississippi for several consecutive years. I even got the opportunity to play tennis for Mississippi State University.”

Ashley Freeman working on volleys with one of her classes.

After graduating with a degree in marketing from Mississippi State University, Freeman got a job in sales but quickly realized that it was not her calling. She knew her passions were tennis and children and that all she needed was the opportunity to work with both.

Eventually, an opportunity fell in her lap to be the assistant tennis coach for the Oxford High School tennis team, so she happily took the position. After that, one door after another opened with new and exciting opportunities for Freeman.

“Lafayette High School Tennis Coach, Debbie Swindle, asked me if I would be willing to teach some kids classes and little did she know that I loved kids so I decided to go ahead and try it,” Freeman said. “Yeah it was a leap of faith, but it turned out to be a great decision.”

Swindle said it takes a special person to work with children and that Freeman is that person.

“She is hardworking, energetic, and truly passionate about this sport and these children,” Swindle said of Freeman.

Freeman works with children from the ages of 3 to 8 years old. She breaks up the classes into 3, 4 and 5-year-olds and 6, 7 and 8-year-olds.

“I focus a lot on teaching them the basic skills, footwork, agility, and hand-eye coordination,” she said. “I do like to get them familiar with a racket and ball so they understand and become familiar with the movement of forehands, backhands, volleys, and serves. I introduce a lot of this through games, which is cool because they don’t even realize that they are learning the fundamentals of tennis because they are having so much fun.”

Freeman focuses on tennis basics.

Through these classes, Freeman has become more connected with the Oxford community.

“Now that I’m out and doing something that is community-centered and community-focused it gives me the opportunity to meet a lot of cool people and make a lot of special connections,” she said.

Freeman isn’t just teaching the kids how to play tennis, she said she is teaching them how to be good people.

“I want them to know what it’s like to have a good heart and be good teammates and friends to one another. I just want them to be overall awesome people out there on the courts and in the real world,” Freeman said.

“My goal for the future is to be as successful as I can be and to touch as many little lives as I possibly can and make an impact in their life somehow. The most rewarding thing about my job is receiving genuine love from these kids and watching them fall in love with the game of tennis like I did.”

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