The student news site of Lambert High School

The Lambert Post

The student news site of Lambert High School

The Lambert Post

The student news site of Lambert High School

The Lambert Post

From a Longhorn to a Lion: Emily Baek’s Grand Slam Journey Through Tennis

A picture of Emily Baek playing the National Level 1 Spring Team tournament. Taken by YourGameFace on March 6th, 2022.

If you happen to stumble upon a list of the highest-ranked female high school tennis players in the country, you’ll discover Emily Baek. As one of our very own Longhorns, her dedication and commitment to the court has placed her not only amongst the nation’s elite, but has also established her as an example for high school tennis players across the country. 


As a kid, Emily tried several different sports, but none of them resonated with her like tennis did. 

She took her first steps onto the tennis court at the age of seven and dove into the world of tournaments when she was just eight years old. 


“Tennis was the only sport that I enjoyed,” Baek explained. “I loved both the individual and the team aspect of it.”


Emily’s journey through tennis is defined by a string of impressive achievements. Recognized as a top 25 player and a five-star recruit for the class of 2024 by Tennis Recruiting, she reached the semifinals of the National Clay Courts in 2022 and consistently holds top rankings in various age categories, including the top 30 in Girls 18s by the United States Tennis Association.


“It’s a very rewarding feeling seeing how much I’ve improved my ranking and game,” Baek said. 


Emily’s notable accomplishments in tennis haven’t gone unnoticed, especially by Division I schools. Last October, she committed to playing tennis at Columbia University, a clear recognition of her unwavering commitment to the court. She plans to major in either economics or follow the pre-med track.


“The Columbia coach came to watch me during a tournament,” Baek explained. “After I won my match, she called me and told me that she thought I’d be a great fit for the program and offered me a spot right then and there. I immediately accepted and went out to celebrate later that night. Ironically, the town we were in was Columbia, South Carolina, so I guess it was just fate.”


Despite her array of achievements, Emily has faced a number of challenges throughout her tennis career that she’s had to overcome. During her freshman and sophomore years, she dealt with recurring shoulder and back injuries that hindered her performance during the times she needed to improve the most.


“I was really discouraged about my injuries because I had to take a lot of time off from the court and it took even more time to get my game back to where it was without irritating my shoulder and back,” Baek said. “But with the support of my parents and coaches, I developed a solid routine of exercises to strengthen them in order to make sure I don’t reinjure myself.”


Although Emily devotes five hours a day to playing tennis, she recognizes and understands the importance of balance. Beyond the demands of both tennis and school, she enjoys watching Netflix and hanging out with her friends.


In terms of her long-term goals, Emily hopes to play high in the lineup for Columbia and help the team win an Ivy League title. Following her undergraduate studies however, she expressed her intention to put down the racquet and focus on other things.


“I don’t want to play on the professional tour, so there’s no reason for me to play competitive tennis anymore,” Emily explained. “I think my main focus would be on developing my career, but I love the sport so I’ll probably still play in my leisure time.”


From high school recognition to commitment to Columbia University, Emily’s tennis journey reflects passion and success, showcasing her dedication both on and off the court to unwavering success.

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