"I started playing when I was 10."
For Grace Larrain, tennis runs in the family.
"Every Sunday we hit, as a family we all go and hit," Larrain said. "There would be six of us on court and we could hit with each other for hours."
The 18-year-old is the third of nine children. Her love for the racquet sport started with her brother.
"I idolized my brother, I followed everything he did. I started playing and I really started to like it," Larrain said.
The Newman Catholic senior is hitting her way to a third straight trip to state. Larrain was a Newsline 9 Athlete of the Week two years ago, when she made the state finals as a sophomore.
"I really didn't expect it," Larrain said in 2011. "But it's a good feeling because I got there so young."
Looking back at her first state appearance, Larrain said she feels more confident.
"I know what to expect and I know how it's going to be. I feel like I'm going to be more comfortable," Larrain said.
Her head coach, Deb Rupar, agrees.
"She has a game plan. She knows her strengths and weaknesses and that's been the biggest difference," Rupar said.
"I won't give up a match easily," Larrain said. "I try to fight for every match until the very end."
Her success is already inspiring her four-year-old sister to follow the rest of the family.
"She's already picking up racquets and chasing down balls," Larrain said.
Grace Larrain, your Newsline 9 Athlete of the Week.
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