Blake Bakkila said she's a more complete tennis player in her senior year at Newport Harbor High.
Part of it may be natural progression for the Sailors' No. 1 singles player, but part of it is also because she didn't have a choice. For a few months earlier this year, Bakkila's biggest weapon — her two-handed backhand — just wasn't an option.
This was because Bakkila had surgery on her left wrist in March to take care of some torn ligaments.
"Toward the end of the season and beginning of CIF [last year], it started hurting really badly," she said. "I didn't really know what it was. It just seemed to be getting worse. I just played with some tape around my wrist for the rest of CIF."
Bakkila took it easy after helping Newport Harbor reach the Division II championship match, and got the surgery on St. Patrick's Day. After the surgery, she went to physical therapy for 12 weeks. In tennis, she could only hit forehands and backhand slices and missed some junior tournaments.