More than an Athlete sydni Ratliff


Hi, I'm Sydni Ratliff and I am currently a Junior pursing a degree in Strategic Communications from The Ohio State University. I am currently a student-athlete on the Varsity Tennis Team while being a Digital Media Intern for the Athletic Department.

Growing Up

I attended The Columbus Academy, a prestigious college preparatory school, here in Columbus. I enjoyed taking part in many extra curricular activities like theater, gymnastics, karate, swimming and piano. These hobbies made me diligent and well-rounded. My daily routines were always unpredictable and very carefree which allowed me to really enjoy childhood.

Growing up as an only child my mom wanted me to be in as many activities as possible to learn new skills and to be surrounded by other kids. I would do summer camps every week and after school clubs. Everything changed one summer when I spent hours everyday at a park practicing tennis with a small group of kids. That was the beginning of a long tennis journey that still continues to this day.

Tennis becoming my identity

I was one of the top tennis juniors in the country throughout all of the age groups. I traveled the nation playing different tournaments every weekend. I trained several days of week after school and played tournaments on the weekend. What was once a once a week hobby turned into a something that required extreme dedication and focus. I have won every level of tournament from local to national, singles and doubles, all while attending a rigorous private school. Tennis quickly became my identity and I felt like I was only known as the girl who played tennis. I am forever grateful for the people, places, and experiences that tennis brought me. However, it came with a lot of sacrifice and handwork at the level I was competing at every week.

United States Tennis Association Awards and Trophies

How covid helped me find lost skills

During the pandemic the sport that had become my entire life was taken away. It really made me think about how life would be without tennis. At that moment the person behind the racquet emerged.


With endless amounts of free time I was able to go back to some of the hobbies that helped influence me today. Piano was a childhood love of mine that was taught to me by my grandfather. I pursued lessons until my tennis schedule became too hectic to do both. During the pandemic I was able to find that love again for music and practiced for hours eager to learn new songs. Taking part in this movement taught me leadership and problem solving skills that I can use forever.


When I was younger I would take cooking classes at Young Chefs Academy and I even had a birthday party there. I was able to pick this back up again when most of the restaurants closed. Making food at home became a very new normal. It brought out a fun hobby of cooking and learning different recipes throughout the pandemic. I really enjoy having other people try my food and seeing the final product. From cooking I have gained skills like planning and budgeting depending on what groceries I need to create meals.

Food I made during Covid


Another hobby that I explored again was painting and I found that making paintings made people happy including myself. My great-grandmother hangs my paintings in her senior living facility and loves to brag that they're one of a kind. I felt as if I had an endless amount of free time during Covid so I began to watch tutorials to increase my knowledge of color combinations, brushes and techniques. Painting really allows me to explore creativity and emotional expression because most of my paintings were based on how I was feeling.

My Paintings

Where I Want To GO

Future Goals

  • Acquire a summer internship
  • Complete my undergraduate degree
  • Explore Career Options within Digital Media, Marketing, and Communications
  • Attend graduate school
  • Aspire to play professional tennis

Today I use painting when I want to relax it helps me decompress with my busy lifestyle. You can find me playing piano whenever I want to learn something new and it continues to sharpen my concentration. Cooking has become a very useful skill in college, and learning new recipes always brings a new excitement. As well as working in the digital media department at OSU has given me new skills in areas that allow me to be creative. All of the skills that I have acquired have not only made me a more complete person but has improved my tennis as well. My journey off the court has shaped me into the person I am today. I am grateful for the lessons I have learned.