AUBURN, Ala. -- Coming into her freshman season with a wealth of international experience has prepared freshman Alannah Griffin for the gauntlet of SEC play. Griffin, from Solihull, England, has gotten off to a 4-0 start in league play, the best start by an Auburn freshman since two-time All-American Pleun Burgmans started 5-0 in 2013.
“Alannah’s international experience, through playing, competing and being a strong junior, has given her a fearless factor,” said Auburn head coach Lauren Spencer. “Her experience has taught her to love the tough competition and she is incredibly hungry for the success of the team.”
Before coming to Auburn, Griffin was ranked as high as 271 in the ITF rankings and had a ranking of 42 in the British Open Ranking. She was also a British 14U national champion in singles and won a doubles national championship in 2013. She attributes her international experience to her strong start at Auburn.
“I feel like traveling around and being away from my support base at home helped me to prepare for my time at Auburn,” said Griffin. “From an early age, I learned the type of player I wanted to be. Traveling around to different countries, I got to see many different playing styles and I learned from some of the best players in the world.”
This season, Griffin ranks second on the team in singles victories (21) and is tied for first in doubles victories (19). On Feb. 10, she picked up SEC Freshman of the Week honors, which was the first weekly award for the Auburn program since 2008.
“Having that success and seeing what I can do really got me ready to compete in the SEC,” Griffin said. “The coaches at Auburn really stress playing well in doubles, so l think being able to compete at that high level really made the transition easier for me.”
Since Spencer took over the program in 2012, her main focus has been creating a strong team culture and family atmosphere for the team. Griffin has been an integral piece to that culture this season.
“Alannah brings an enthusiasm and a drive that makes everyone around her better,” said Auburn assistant coach Chris Hooshyar. “When the team is struggling, she is the type of player that will motivate the team and make a tough experience better. The older girls see her as a younger sister, but see her work ethic and have a ton of respect for that work ethic.”
Griffin will look to continue her early success as Auburn women’s tennis hosts No. 27 Mississippi State on Thursday for its ninth straight match against a ranked opponent. The Tigers will then welcome No. 39 Ole Miss and Alabama A&M on Saturday. All matches will be played at Yarbrough Tennis Center and admission is free.