Beyer sophomore Symone Jacques’ favorite thing about tennis is that no matter how far behind you are in a match, you’re never out of it. You could be trailing 5-0 in the second set, down 40-love in the sixth game, and you can still come back. Get behind that far in most any other sport, and the clock also becomes your enemy.
But not in tennis. Until your opponent wins that final point in the final game of the final set, you’ve still got a chance.
Unless, of course, you develop a serious infection in your neck and have to retire from the match before its conclusion.
That’s what happened to Jacques in the semifinals of the Sac-Joaquin Section singles tournament in November, when she had to retire against eventual champion Abby Bacharach of Del Oro (Loomis).
Nevertheless, for her efforts this year, Jacques has been named The Bee’s girls tennis Player of the Year for a second consecutive season.
Jacques had a legitimate shot at a section championship – she won her first two matches of the tourney 6-0, 6-0 and 6-1, 6-2 – until she developed the infection – the result of a cut or perhaps an insect bite on her neck.
“I couldn’t move my neck or my head during the match,” said Jacques. “It was pretty disappointing.”
Especially when you consider she’d beaten Bacharach in a tournament earlier in the season.
Still, Jacques made it to the section semifinals – as far as her sister, Jacqueline Jacques, ever advanced.
“My sister and I are very competitive,” said Symone Jacques, who said the competition has mellowed as years pass. Jacqueline, a former Bee Player of the Year, is a freshman at Seattle University.
“It’s always in the back of my mind – my sister did it, so I have to do it,” Jacques said.
ON THE COURT: After dropping the Modesto Metro Conference opener to reigning league champ Lorel Rodriguez of Gregori, Jacques went undefeated the rest of the regular season and captured her first conference crown.
“She’s naturally talented and she’s a hard worker,” said Phong Le, the tennis pro at Modesto Fitness & Racquet Club. “And she’s very competitive.”
Beyer coach Mark Gonzales said Jacques is so tough because of her intensity and consistency.
“She just gets the ball in more times than the other player,” Gonzales said earlier this season. “That, and she has a strong drive to win, which I think we need a lot more of in most players.”
OFF THE COURT: Jacques is a serious student. Her weighted grade-point average this semester is 4.6. Her dream school is UC Santa Barbara – “I really like the SoCal vibe and Santa Barbara is so beautiful” – and she hopes to become a heart surgeon one day. In addition, she’s involved with the Science Olympiad, Key Club and Protecting Health and Slamming Tobacco Club.
In her spare time, she likes to bake.
“I took some classes for professional baking – cakes and cupcakes and things of that nature,” said Jacques. “It kind of relaxes me. Plus, I have a really bad sweet tooth and baking kind of relieves it.”
QUOTABLE: “After I retired from the semifinal match, I ended up in the hospital for three days. The doctor asked me, ‘Why didn’t you come in earlier?’ I told him, ‘Hey, I had a tennis match.’ ” – Symone Jacques