Sydney Brantley: Aces on the Tennis Court, A’s in the Classroom


Dennis Racket

Practice Makes Perfect for Dubs’ Varsity Girls Co-Captain Sydney Brantley

While most high school juniors fill their school days socializing and daydreaming of a free period, North Atlanta junior Sydney Brantley spends the majority of her days honing her tennis skills. Her hard work and dedication are certainly paying off. She has earned both a national ranking and a state ranking as one of the top 20 players in her age group.  From five-hour practices to major tournament wins, Brantley’s efforts are all building towards her goal of going D1 in college. 

Her parents introduced her to tennis at a young age through their participation in an adult league. She started playing tennis when she was five and competed in her first tournament at South Fulton Tennis Center when she was eight. She wound up not only winning the tournament but also receiving a huge compliment about her “natural ability” from the tournament director. This early success sparked Brantley’s passion for tennis and encouraged her to take the game more seriously. “I had to make the difficult decision to quit dancing after nine years of training,” she said. “This allowed me to play more tennis and focus on improving.”

The high school years are pivotal for those who want to pursue higher-level tennis. Like her peers, the pandemic made ninth grade an unprecedented year for Brantley. After her first year of high school, she decided to take an additional year of school online to catch up on tennis post-pandemic by training and traveling for tournaments. Now, in her junior year, she is back in person with a minimum day schedule. While it may seem like she’s not in school as much as the typical high school student, Brantley takes rigorous AP courses online to prepare herself for college. However, online schooling does impact her social life and though she is close with her tennis friends, Brantley says that nothing can compare to the bonds she has with those she’s known since middle school. “I definitely have to take advantage of my limited social time at school before I have to switch back to being serious for five to six hours a day during training,” she said.  

Being a student-athlete undoubtedly comes with added pressure to her tennis game. Brantley is co-captain of the Dubs Girls Varsity tennis team and currently holds the number one spot in the lineup. She was also an integral part of the 2022 Dubs’ 6A State Championship win. On and off the court, she pushes herself to perform at the highest level as the dream of college recruitment becomes a distinct reality. While it feels good to see her peers excited for her, the combination of her own high expectations and the pressure from her friends can sometimes seem overwhelming. Sophomore Dubs player Ana Pinho admires Brantley’s ability to combat these pressures and mentally focus on the court. “Sydney always cheered everyone on when she could, and she inspired us to do the same,” she said. “She taught me how important it is to support your teammates.”

Her impact on the Dubs tennis program is apparent and she hopes to make her mark in college as well. After college, she wants to pursue a career as a sports agent and use her athletic experience to help others. While she is nervous, Brantley can’t wait for the future and hopes to be an inspiration for the younger generation. “I want to inspire people – not just tennis players or athletes – to never give up on their goals,” she said. “Just because you are young does not mean you cannot deal with setbacks and come back stronger.”