Not a lot of things come naturally for a lot of people.
For West Forsyth’s Harrison Kim, tennis did.
“My mom and dad say I just enjoyed tennis a lot more, and at a super young age, I wanted to study like doing it a lot more hours before that,” Kim said. “Who as a kid wants to study a sport?”
Kim was so focused on tennis that he left West his sophomore year to focus solely on playing tournament tennis. Describing himself as “cocky” at 14 and 15 years old, Kim said his year playing tournaments humbled him and made him a better tennis player mentally.
At the same time, Kim realized how good he could actually be at the national championship tournament in Kalamazoo, Mich.
“I had an 8 a.m. match,” Kim said. “I was actually nervous. I'm not usually a nervous person, but going down there, 100 people there watching me. The guy next to me was from Kalamazoo and the crowd was cheering like crazy. When the crowd gets into it, I love it. Well, if I’m playing well, I love it.”
Feeding into the crowd and energy around him is something Kim has always enjoyed doing. A self-proclaimed “ natural performer,” Kim said the worst thing someone could do at one of his matches was fall asleep or get bored.
His freshman year, Kim said that everybody on the team knew each other and that kept team chemistry high throughout the entire season. For his senior season, Kim said it took some leadership to get all of his teammates on the same page.
“I wasn't too hard on them, but I knew that we could do better,” Kim said. “I wish we could have another chance, but looking back it was great. I feel like I did a good job, especially with my friends alongside. It was easy for me to do.”
When Kim returned to West Forsyth his junior year, he said he focused on just playing his own individual game, rather than getting mentally entangled with the rest of his teammates’ matches.
“It's going out there and competing,” Kim said. “ I feel like every time I get to play, I’m pretty easy focused and play well. I need to focus throughout the whole match because my mind can go up and down.”
Kim said that he sees the benefits in taking time to focus on your travel team and playing with high school teammates.
“You focus more on the travel stuff, but guess it just means a ton to play for your school, amongst your friends,” Kim said. “When I first got there, it was all about performing for people, because it's always fun to win and play well in front of your team and friends.”
According to Tennis Recruiting, Kim is a three-star recruit and is Georgia's No. 23 player in his class. Now, at the end of his high school career, Kim is set to play Division I tennis at Georgia State, signing in December.
“If the fall goes well, I can see myself getting some playing time,” Kim said. “Not sure about individual matches, but everybody plays against each other all the time.”
Some of Kim’s teammates have driven down to Cumming to play casually with one another. As Kim begins to meet the older members of his new team, he hopes to leave his younger teammates at West with the memory of being a “good, smart” teammate.
“You just have to really love the game,” Kim said. “If you don't love it, then you won’t work at it. Anybody can do anything as long as they work hard as they can.”