WSU tennis’ darling: Maxine Murphy 

Sophomore looking to lead WSU into a successful 2023 season



WSU tennis player Maxine Murphy celebrates after scoring a point during an NCAA match against Montana, Jan, 13.

BRANDON WILLMAN, Multimedia editor

WSU tennis’ sophomore Maxine Murphy from Laguna Niguel, California is at the top of the ladder for the team and has already begun to be recognized as one of the better players in the Pac-12 Conference.

Earlier this season, she won her first Pac-12 Conference Women’s Tennis Player of the Week Award. The recognition was off the back of a  6-0, 6-1 singles win and a 7-5 doubles win against Montana.

“It was a huge honor, to say the least. I am honored to be recognized in that way and I hope that I can keep building off that start and recognition,” Murphy said.

Her recognition has not stopped, as she was recently ranked in the inaugural Spring Intercollegiate Tennis Association women’s tennis rankings. She is ranked No. 111, the first time she has been ranked in her career.

Murphy said being a sophomore and being the No. 1 for the team has been an honor and something that she is proud to hold. She also hopes to be a good leader and role model for her teammates in hopes everyone improves over the season.

Head coach Raquel Atawo said that working with Murphy is an easy task with how locked in she is on her craft, adding that she is succeeding both on and off the court as a player and teammate.

“Max is a really hard worker, so I think that makes it easy. She wants to do well very badly, so it is nice to work with someone that enthusiastic,” Atawo said.

Murphy leads by example for the other Cougs as she is normally the first on the court, ready to go. She is super professional in handling herself and takes tennis very seriously, Atawo said.

Despite the praise from her coach, Murphy reciprocated the praise. She said her coaching staff helped her with both preparing before matches as well as coaching her up during the matches.

“Both of the coaches give off really good energy, they both help build me up during matches and give good advice,” she said.

Before the spring regular season started for WSU, Murphy was the Coug who made it the furthest in singles action at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Northwest Championships, where she made it to the top 16 players.

That finish and her matches to begin the season led to her ranking in the ITA rankings, but she said she is focused on looking forward to Conference play and a hopeful NCAA Tournament bid.

When speaking about Conference play and her team, she said she is hopeful for a good season and said that the team dynamic and environment has been super positive this season.

“I feel like the team dynamic this season has been really good. We have a lot of energy. The whole team is super close. Being so close makes it easier on the court, as we all are there supporting each other,” Murphy said.

That team dynamic is something that WSU is prideful of, which is a major reason why Murphy had originally committed to play as a Coug.

“The environment and this team, on my official visit I fell in love with the Cougar pride. Everything about WSU has helped me thrive as a student and as an athlete,” she said.