Sophomore Caden Taylor Procter, who is a varsity tennis player at Scarborough High School, is one who is passionate about tennis, and makes sure she does what it takes to succeed. Ever since she was as young as six years old, Procter knew that tennis would be the sport that she would fall in love with. When she was in the first grade at Wainwright Elementary School, tennis was introduced to her by her uncle when he played with her for the first time at a local park.
Because her elementary school did not have a tennis team, she would practice with him at Highland Park and Memorial Park. Her uncle was quite athletic, so she was able to pick up the basics and learn all the tips and tricks as they continued to play together. Procter didn’t know a lot of African Americans her age who played tennis, but she pursued the sport because she truly loved I started to play just because I enjoyed it, and it was a different sport that not a lot of my kind of people were playing,” Procter stated.
She continued to do this throughout elementary school, and for her first couple of middle school years at Frank Black Middle School. Since Frank Black did not have a tennis team either, she resumed playing at her local parks until the 8th grade. She then switched from Memorial Park to Lee LeClear Tennis Center Park. Knowing that freshman year was vastly approaching, she trained hard in the summer by practicing at Lee LeClear Tennis Center Park with the Kids N’ Tennis organization with Coach Johnson.
Procter made varsity her freshman year at Scarborough High School in hopes of making the state championships. However, she realized that playing on her own and attending tennis organizations was different from playing for a high school team. “It was more experienced and more organized than it is at school. “It was challenging playing at school because the coaches didn’t really know what they were doing.” Since she was playing for a team with less experienced players, training with her coaches and her uncle outside of school was the best way for Procter to improve her skills.
Aside from tennis, she also enjoyed running track. At the start of 2023, she began to run track for her school, even though varsity tennis still held the number one spot in her heart. While both, playing tennis and running track, Procter noticed the difference in diversity between the two sports, and wished that tennis was as diverse as track. “I was more comfortable running track considering there were more African Americans than in tennis,” said Procter. “Tennis is just overall a sport I enjoy most because its different from what African Americans usually play.”
With her family’s support, Procter wins most of her matches, and her mother, being her biggest supporter, attends every competition. Procter plans to simply just be the best that she can be to make her coaches, and her mom and dad proud. She also encourages the black community to not be afraid to get out there and try something different. “It’s not weird to do something different. If you like it, that’s all that matters.”
Procter has big goals for herself and looks up to numerous role models such as professional tennis players like Coco Gauff, Frances Tiafoe, Naomi Osaka, Rafael Nadal, and Roger Federer. Procter still practices at Lee LeClear Tennis Center with teammates and organizations such as Kids N’ Tennis with Coach Johnson. She sees herself playing tennis in the future as a professional tennis player and wants to attend college to become an orthopedic surgeon.