Natalie Gratwick has usually followed in her mother’s footsteps.
She was introduced to tennis when she was young, playing at Laurel Park until it was time to go to Marietta High School. Like her mother, Cappy, once did, Natalie Gratwick played varsity tennis for the Lady Blue Devils and is now getting ready to head to college.
Once again, Gratwick is following her mother’s lead — sort of.
Cappy Gratwick went to a Southeastern Conference school in Georgia, but Natalie is going to bitter conference rival Auburn.
It seems like the decision has already made for some interesting dinner conversation.
“There is Georgia stuff all over (the house),” Natalie Gratwick said, “and one little Auburn flag.”
While Gratwick has yet to get a Bo Jackson, Charles Barkley or Cam Newton poster, or any other Auburn memorabilia — “Maybe for graduation,” she said — she may have found a kindred spirit in her own home.
Gratwick said her father, Jay, who also went to Georgia, may be hiding a little Tiger blood of his own.
“Dad actually grew up an Auburn fan,” Natalie Gratwick said. “He was going to go to Auburn, but then changed his mind and went to Georgia. That’s where he met mom.”
After playing four years of varsity tennis at Marietta and helping lead the Lady Blue Devils to the state quarterfinals in 2018, Gratwick said it was time to make her own mark.
“I wanted something new,” she said of her decision to head to Auburn.
A two-time Marietta scholar athlete, Gratwick is undecided on a course of study at Auburn, but she will be taking a 4.3 grade-point average and, likely, an International Baccalaureate diploma with her.
“I love math,” Gratwick said. “I’ve considered doing something with math and business.”
Gratwick said she sees similarities between math and tennis. Both are like having a formula, and one has to have the proper structure to complete each problem correctly.
Unfortunately, there was no proper structure to the coronavirus.
Gratwick said she and her teammates were coming off the court after playing North Cobb when they first heard the news that school would be shut down for a couple of weeks.
“I thought we would be back,” Gratwick said, “but (at the time) mom said it may be our last match.
‘It’s been really sad. I thought about all the things I’ll never be able to do — tennis, prom, maybe graduation. It’s been sad. I can’t even see my friends to talk about it.”
With that being the case, Gratwick said she would tell her younger teammates to take every advantage of the opportunities they have in high school.
“Be involved,” she said. “It really helps.”