Trinity Classical Academy’s Dustin Kua does Pilates at least twice a week.
The junior tennis player, who is headed to the CIF-Southern Section Round of 16 on Friday, has started including the practice in his training regimen to help him mentally and physically.
“I try to do it as much as possible because it’s just really good to relax the mind and be really fluid on the court,” Kua said. “If you’re flexible, then you can be much faster.”
It certainly seems as though the core-and-flexibility workout has helped Kua, who competes as a freelance player, this season.
He earned a bye in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section individual sectionals last week, then won his second two rounds 6-2, 6-1 and 6-3, 1-0 (opponent retired).
The performance gave him a bye for the Round of 32 and a trip straight to the Round of 16.
Last season, that was all the farther Kua made it. He lost two straight sets for a playoff exit and was also battling a wrist injury at the time.
“I want to do better than last year,” he said. “It’s some of the best competition in California.
“…I’m much more mature than I was last year. I trained much harder over the year and I played in a bunch of tournaments that got me more prepared for this year”
In addition to the Pilates, Kua has been grinding through drills to help his timing and working on improving his serve, something he says was once his biggest weakness but is now his biggest strength.
According to tennisrecruiting.net, Kua is a four-star tennis recruit and is ranked No. 16 in California and No. 105 in the country among class of 2018 players.
But he knows that he’ll be facing plenty of players just as good as him in the coming tournament.
“I just tell myself that there’s no pressure,” Kua said. “This tournament, there’s really no pressure so I’m really loose and just going to go for all my shots.”
Kua is the only tennis player from the Santa Clarita Valley to make an appearance in this year’s Round of 16.
West Ranch players Davey Woodland and Parker McBride were both eliminated in the individual sectionals, along with Wildcat doubles team Quincy Walter-Eze and Noah Morrow and the Valencia High pair of Jackson Boxall and Stephen Thay.
The Round of 16 will take place on Friday, June 2 at Seal Beach Tennis Center in Seal Beach.