Kaia Wolfe is on the verge of moving up. It’s been a fun ride in the world of junior tennis in Southern California, but for this teenager from Rancho Mission Viejo, bigger challenges are on the horizon.
Anyone who’s competed in junior events over the past few years will know the name Kaia Wolfe. Last year, she was a mixed doubles champion at Junior Sectionals, dominated every opponent to win the Woody Hunt tournament, and reached the final of the inaugural Final 8 Masters last November. In February 2020 she convincingly won the Level 3 Long Beach Open.
Wolfe rates Intersectionals - where she was undefeated in team play last year - as her most coveted event playing for #TeamSoCal, competing alongside friends and fellow SoCal juniors to represent the Section in regional and national events.
One tournament that really sits in my heart, and will always, is Intersectionals," Wolfe says. "That was just an amazing opportunity that I was able to have.”
But it was her introduction to local Junior Team Tennis that cemented her interest in the sport.
“In the beginning, I lived off of (Junior Team Tennis),” she remembers. “It just made tennis look so much fun, and not so scary at such a young age. It was just great to meet a ton of friends. But obviously we all started to improve and come across bigger tournaments (like Zonals), also one of the best ones by far."
Having achieved all that she could in junior tennis, Wolfe now looks ahead to her next challenge. While she finishes a rigorous schedule of challenging courses this school year, Wolfe knows that college is next on her list.
"College is definitely in the picture,” she says. “I'm very serious about tennis, but academics is just as important to me, so college is my biggest goal right now. I'm not too sure where I want to go - if I want to go more tennis-heavy or academic-heavy - but for sure it's going to be a good college."
But is she eager to test the waters of the pro circuit? Like any accomplished young player, Wolfe intends to wait and see when and where she’ll fit that profile. “Obviously like I'd love to try to touch on the pro tour,” she says. (I’ll) see how far I can make it, and then just keep it going from there.”
Aside from high level academics and a top notch tennis game, Wolfe is known to trade the hard court for warm Southern California beaches - the same balance that WTA Tour professional Coco Vandeweghe is known to maintain. Ultimately, Wolfe's biggest priority is simply to be a good person, and to represent SoCal with dignity and respect. In her mind, that means an emphasis on sportsmanship.
“My biggest thing, when it comes to tennis, has always been having the best presence and attitude on the court,” she says. “I feel like that was the biggest thing, to prove that you're not just just nice, but that you have good sportsmanship and that you're a good person. I felt like being a respectful tennis player really helped me represent SoCal. It's helped me build so many connections. I just want to meet new people, be with everyone playing in team events. I feel like I'm still trying to do it, but I think I've done a good job of representing TeamSoCal with that.”
Visit our Junior Tennis section, featuring Kaia Wolfe in August, and follow our "This Is..." player profile series regularly at USTAsocal.com.