Avocados, Joan Jett, hikes up Mount Beacon and laughing at dad — these are a few of Maranda Sears’ favorite things.
As the Arlington High School girls tennis standout preps for Saturday’s state tournament, she chatted with the Journal about a number of important topics: Like cooking pasta, blasting rap music in front of her parents, the effectiveness of grunting and how to blow a fuse John McEnroe style.
Sears won the consolation match of the Section 1 girls tennis tournament last week to earn a bid to states, and it’s well known that she has a devastating serve. But how would she return these volleys?
We learned last week you like Chipotle after a match. What do you eat before one?
Avocado cut into little pieces with lime and smoked salmon. I have some Russian friends that I play tennis with and I spent a week at their house. We would eat that every time before practice and I liked it. I can eat avocado straight up.
Fantasy doubles pairing: Who would your partner be and who would you play?
I’d definitely wanna play with Serena Williams, and we’d play against two guys. I’d go with James Blake and Andy Roddick. I met both of them as a ball girl at the U.S. Open and they’re both nice.
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How would it go?
We would lose the first set, 6-3, then come back and take the second set, 6-4. Then we’d go to a tiebreaker in the third and win, 10-8.
How often do people spell your name “Miranda”?
All the time. Even the people I’m close with. But I understand, it’s a weird spelling… I was named after a character in the movie “The Tempest,” and my parents said they wanted to change it up a bit.
Song that gets you pumped before competition?
Big Sean, “I Don’t (associate) with You.” I blast it in the car with my dad.
Is it awkward when that (explicit) chorus comes up?
My dad hates it, but I play it before every match so it’s become a ritual. My dad has heard it so many times, he knows some of the words and sings along sometimes.
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Other songs you enjoy?
My favorite song right now is “This Could be Us” by Rae Sremmurd. I like all their songs. I also like Maroon 5 and Adele’s “Hello.”
Four dinner guests of your choosing?
Dylan O’Brien from “Teen Wolf,” Drake, my best friend Riley Loughlin, and Jimmy Fallon. That’s a good group.
And if you had to cook for them?
I’m a terrible cook, but I’m good at making pasta. That’s the easiest thing. I’d serve pasta with red sauce.
Ever grunt during tennis matches like some of the pros?
Yeah. I hate it, but I can’t control it. My whole team makes fun of me for it. But I think it helps me play better. If I’m really focused on a point or the match gets intense, it’s the loud (Maria) Sharapova kind.
How hard is your serve?
I hit 116 mph one time at a tournament. For a girl, that’s pretty big. I used to be in the 90s, but my coaches have made a lot of changes to my mechanics. Really small things, like finger positioning, that’s made a big difference.
If you could trade places with someone for a day?
I would want to be Beyonce. Everyone worships her, so it’d be fun to see what that’s like for a day.
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You train at the John McEnroe Tennis Academy. What’s it like meeting him?
It’s cool. He came to our practice two weeks ago. The atmosphere changes and everyone starts trying so hard.
Ever lost your temper on the court like him?
It’s happened a few times. More so when I was younger. It’s usually after a bad call and I’ll argue, “Are you kidding me? Did you look? The ball was right there! Right there!”
If you weren’t Maranda Sears, what would you ask Maranda Sears?
Something people ask me a lot: Does your family own Sears? They don’t.
Most memorable moment on the court?
I had a match two years ago in North Carolina in USTA Zonals with some of the top young players. I remember how huge the crowd was and how loudly my team was cheering me on.
If you could go anywhere right now?
Definitely Italy. Or Bora Bora.
Hobbies outside of tennis?
I hike a lot. My dad just hiked Mount Rainier in Washington. I go with him a lot and I really enjoy that.
If you could have a superpower?
I’m always torn between being invisible and reading minds.
What’s something that would surprise people about you?
I used to sing and act. I’ve done over 40 plays in community theater. I did it from when I was 4 up to eighth grade. When I was younger, I was really shy and quiet. Then I had one talent show where I sang “I Hate Myself for Loving You” by Joan Jett. I went all-out with the wig and fake tattoos. From that point, I was less nervous.
Stephen Haynes: [email protected], 845-437-4826, Twitter: @StephenHaynes4