Moving 3,000 miles from home was not an easy decision for then 14-year-old Caroline Doyle.
The young tennis champion from San Francisco’s Richmond district had just completed her first semester at St. Ignatius. After winning last year’s West Catholic Athletic League championship and being named the WCAL Singles Player of the Year, the freshman sensation was offered a coveted spot at the USTA Training Center in Boca Raton, Fla.
Doyle made the tough choice to move and follow her sister Natalie, a Division I volleyball player, to the East Coast, leaving behind the rest of the nontennis-playing Doyle clan, including brother Peter, an S.I. lacrosse player, as well as her friends at St. Ignatius.
“I really liked going to S.I., and it was really tough leaving to come here,” Doyle said by phone from Boca Raton. “I really liked the atmosphere and all of the school spirit.”
School has become an online experience for Doyle, as she must mix her training and tournament schedule with a curriculum that is heavily concentrated on math and science.
Now 15, Doyle is coached by Kathy Rinaldi, herself a former teen tennis phenom, who in 1981 at age 14 was the youngest person to ever win a match at Wimbledon.
“Caroline is a tremendous young lady on and off the court,” Rinaldi said. “She is getting stronger and better all the time because of her work ethic and her focus on the tennis court and in the fitness area.”
Her performance in singles and doubles at the USTA Junior National Spring Championships in April elevated Doyle into the top 10 in the nation’s under-16 rankings.
Doyle, who has shifted focus to her under-18 and international rankings, will resume her tournament schedule in August after recuperating from a fractured wrist caused by an awkward backhand shot.
The 5-foot-7 lefty needs to be at full strength as she and Rinaldi work on upping her power game.
“I’ve been working on my serve, trying to get more pop on it,” Doyle said. “I’m trying to turn it into more of a weapon when I play.”
Rinaldi sees nothing but upside to Doyle’s game, including her passion.
“I always tease her; you even want to be the first one done eating,” the coach said. “She loves to compete, and that is half the battle.”
Doyle also loves her hometown. She’ll visit at the end of the summer and looks forward to hanging with her friends on Chestnut Street and with the family’s English labs, Augie and Chile, at Crissy Field.
The Caroline Doyle file
NATIONAL RECORD: 40-7
TRAINING: Six days a week, Doyle spends four hours on the court and 90 minutes in the fitness room.
NORCAL CONNECTION: When visiting home, Doyle works with the Pacific Athletic Club’s John Hubbell, her long-time coach before the move to Florida