Marquette Wire

Year in Singapore helped Hebard develop off the court

The freshman spent a year playing in tournaments across Southeast Asia

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(Photo courtesy of Maggie Bean/Marquette Athletics)

(Photo courtesy of Maggie Bean/Marquette Athletics)

Photo by Maggie Bean

Photo by Maggie Bean

(Photo courtesy of Maggie Bean/Marquette Athletics)

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Freshman Courtney Hebard is one of only three American-born players on Marquette’s women’s tennis team. Still, she brings a unique international experience after playing tennis for a year in Singapore.

Hebard is used to moving. Because of her father’s work in finance, she has lived in Chicago, Seattle and Tampa. After a year and a half in Tampa, her dad came home with news Hebard didn’t want to hear: she would once again be on the move, but this time out of the country. Her family was moving to Singapore.

“I was crying and really upset,” Hebard said. “We had just moved and I didn’t want to leave.”

In the summer following eighth grade, she reluctantly packed her bags to make the 10,363-mile move to the Southeast Asian country.

Right away, Hebard felt out of place. Her blonde hair was unique to the Singaporeans and drew so much attention that people would stop and ask to take pictures with her. In Singapore, they didn’t sell chewing gum, there were no good hamburgers and instead of taking a car, Hebard had to rely on taxis and public transportation to get around.

“It was a hard adjustment when I got there,” Hebard said. “I was still upset. Everything was new to me.”

But just like every other move Hebard had experienced, she quickly found friends at her new, American school and kept busy with tennis. Hebard was only granted eight absences from school per semester, but when she was able to find the time, she would play in tournaments all over Southeast Asia.

“I have been to a lot of places and not a lot of people can say that when you are in high school,” Hebard said.

Unfortunately for Hebard, she found that the level of competition in Singapore was not up to par with the level of competition in the United States. In addition, she noticed that her vocal volume is rare in Singapore.

After one year abroad, she decided she wanted to come back to America. While the rest of her family remained in Singapore, Hebard enrolled in a tennis boarding school academy in Florida and returned to the U.S.. In retrospect, Hebard regrets this decision.

“I wish now I had stayed another year in Singapore, but at the time I was stupid and didn’t really think about it,” Hebard said. “I got to experience so many different cultures, which was so cool. Traveling really opens your eyes to different things and you get to appreciate everything you have in the United States.”

Coming back to focus on tennis did have its benefits for Hebard. She was able to boost her ranking, play with better competition, and she thinks that her coaches in Florida helped make her into the player she is today, which ultimately made it possible for her to come to Marquette.

After attending three high schools in two different countries, Hebard is enjoying something she isn’t used to: knowing where she will be for the next four years.

“Being in the same place is so weird because I haven’t done that in so long, because I am so used to moving,” Hebard said with a laugh. “It is nice to have a solid base where I will be for the next four years.”

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