• School: Sayre School
• Grade: 11th
• Sports: Tennis
• Academics: Madeline reads as many as three to five books per week and has a 4.2 grade-point average.
• Parents: Kim & Chuck
What’s the most interesting thing about Madeline Rolph, a 16-year-old junior at Sayre School? There’s plenty to choose from.
- Is it that she was homeschooled for two years while she attended the Rick Macci Tennis Academy in Florida?
- Or is it that she’s an avid reader?
Avid? How about three to five dystopian novels a week? “If it looks scary or is an adventure story, I’ll read it,” she said.
- How about academics? She has a 4.2 GPA and hopes to be a doctor specializing in sports medicine.
- Or how about the time she grabbed the stick and ever so briefly piloted a two-seater plane during a short flight over Blue Grass Airport two years ago?
- Language anyone? Madeline is fluent in French and has traveled to Paris, London, Florence and Rome.
- What about guns? She’s a marksman with a pink .22 rifle and receives a gun every Christmas from her father, a former Army field artillery officer.
Those are fun to consider but she’s probably best known as the reigning high school state tennis champion.
At 5-foot-10, Madeline can be intimidating on the court. She comes across as a mature, bright and relaxed teenager but admits that she is a driven perfectionist. Her tennis results speak for themselves.
When she was 7, she was discovered hitting tennis balls by Carlos Drada, the UK women’s coach. He gave her private lessons until she was 10 – Wildcat men’s coach Cedric
Kauffmann took over then – when she reluctantly played in her first tournament.
“I didn’t want to play because I hadn’t played any matches at all. I just practiced,” she said.
Guess what? She won her age group title in the Ryan Holder tournament.
Now she is ranked No. 1 in the state and in the top 20 among USTA Southern players.
She has won two USTA Southern tournaments, a national doubles title and has been the age-group champion of the Joe Creason state tournament five times in six years.
This summer she will play against professionals for the second time in the Fifth Third Tennis Championships.
Madeline trains seven days a week, a work ethic that also drives her academic success.
She re-enrolled at Sayre in January after two years of homeschooling while she attended the tennis academy.
“Homeschooling gave me freedom and helped me develop confidence and independence,” she said.
“But at Sayre, I’ve learned there’s more to life than tennis. I really enjoy the balance and that’s allowed me to play better tennis.”
And that’s bad news for her opponents.
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