Auburn’s Nevenhoven hoping for a big October finish to the tennis season

Sports

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — The Nevenhoven name in Rockford is synonymous with outstanding tennis. Right now it’s Belen Nevenhoven’s time to shine on the courts.

Nevenhoven isn’t just another local high school tennis player. That’s clear simply by watching her play for a few minutes.

She is the top player in the NIC-10 by far. The Auburn junior proved that last Saturday. She won the championship match in the conference tournament while losing only one game.

“I’m really excited just because I think I’m playing really well,” said Nevenhoven. “My serve is on and my net game is really coming together.”

Nevenhoven’s older brother Quinten was a standout tennis player and a two-time NIC-10 singles champion at Auburn the last four years before graduating last spring.

Nevenhoven’s mother Cindy was a standout tennis player herself at Belvidere High School and at Western Illinois University. She’s now a tennis pro at the Midtown Athletic Club in Chicago. Nevenhoven often goes there for lessons.

“I go in as much as I can.”

She also goes into the suburbs on Thursdays for practice or lessons.
The hard work every week and the hard work she put in over the summer have paid off.

“I think my strength is…I think coming into this season it’s definitely my serve and my net game. Obviously everyone can hit ground strokes,” said Nevenhoven. “My ground strokes are okay, but I think my net game is what sets me apart.”

Nevenhoven is now a three-time NIC-10 singles champion. She hopes to be a three-time State qualifier by this time next week if she advances out of the Harlem Sectional this weekend where she’s a heavy favorite.

As a freshman at State she advanced to the second day of action. Last year as a sophomore she finished fourth in the state. The goal this year is to finish higher.

“State I’m hoping to get to the finals which I didn’t do last year which I’m kind of disappointed about. I think that’s really motivated me.”

Nevenhoven has not yet committed to play for a college. She still has time to weigh her options since she is only a junior.

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