September 22, 2019 | 77° F

Freshman reaches finals in first two tournaments

Photo by Conor Alwell |

Freshman Lindsey Kayati lost in the finals of her doubles draw at the USTA Invitational.

At the age of 13, Lindsey Kayati was diagnosed with epilepsy. Five years later as a freshman for the Rutgers tennis team, she is having a considerable deal of success on the court.

Kayati was diagnosed with epilepsy after suffering a seizure while playing a match. It took some time for her to be able to manage the epilepsy on the court, she said.

“It took a while, but finally I found the right dosage of medication that I have to take every day,” she said. “I usually don’t think about it, it just became part of my routine. It’s just a normal thing.”

Despite the epilepsy, Kayati went on to have a dominant high school career at Woodstown (N.J.) High School, which has translated into early college success.

At the USTA Invitational, Kayati and sophomore partner Noor Judeh advanced to the finals of their doubles draw before losing the match in a tie-breaker. They went 3-1 together at the tournament.

“We really bring out the best in each other, whether it’s in our personalities or in our game,” Kayati said. “We had a lot of fun, and we made it to the finals, and it was a good finals match.”

Kayati also experienced success in her first college tournament at the Brown Invitational. She made the finals of her singles draw, winning two of three matches against tough competition.

“I thought I played really well, so I was happy about that being my first college tournament,” she said. “It was very exciting.”

Head coach Ben Bucca has noticed Kayati’s strong play.

“Lindsey’s doing great,” he said. “She’s tall, athletic and she’s working on her strength. She takes shots and plays with strong intensity. She seems to just be getting better as the fall is progressing.”

Bucca believes Kayati’s aggressive and intense style of play has had an impact on her smooth transition to the college game.

“With each competition, she’s getting more and more confident,” he said. “She’s doing all the right things.”

Kayati also believes she has been adjusting well to college. The structure of daily practices has allowed her to get into a consistent routine to aid her transition.

She believes a major part of her adjusting so smoothly to college tennis is the help she received from her coaches and teammates.

“The girls are great,” Kayati said. “Both of my coaches, Ben and [assistant coach] Hilary [Ritchie], are awesome. They’re very supportive and give a lot of helpful insight, which makes the transition a lot easier.”

Kayati is a former four-star recruit and No. 6 player in New Jersey, according to the Tennis Recruiting Network.

The Monroeville, N.J., native said she chose to attend Rutgers for several reasons. It was close to home, had good academics and had an excellent team atmosphere, she said.

Bucca took notice of Kayati early in the recruiting process and had zero doubts about taking her onto the team.

“Lindsey was definitely one of the leading players in New Jersey,” he said. “I got to see her play on a number of occasions, and I saw that she had a style of play that would do well in college.”

By Mike Morton

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