The women’s tennis team, led by captain Hanna Yu ’15, plays in the ITA Northeast Regionals this week. The News spoke with Yu about her experience at the ITA All-American Championships, her captaincy and the team’s goals moving forward.
Q: What was your experience at the ITA All-American Championships like? What did you learn from the experience?
A: It was a really great experience. I went my sophomore year, and to be able to play in the tournament you need to be ranked pretty high from last year’s rankings. It’s really great to be able to see all the top players and play the best players from all around the country. The big thing is not being intimidated by the big schools like UCLA … but just focusing on your game and seeing what happens from there.
Q: You were elected captain for this year. What does that mean to you, and what is your role as captain?
A: It definitely meant a lot when I found out that my teammates had voted for me for captain. It is definitely a great responsibility and a huge learning process still with four new freshmen and new coaches. It’s still a work in progress, but I think that with time people are starting to figure out their roles. I’m focused on trying to lead by example, on and off the court.
Q: How has the transition been for the team going from one coach to a new coach, as well as with the addition of four freshmen?
A: I think that it has definitely gotten a lot better. In the beginning it was still very new. Having new coaches plus four freshmen, which we have never had before, is a completely different experience. Our team is very small — we only have 10 players, which is the most we’ve ever had since I’ve been a freshman. But it has been really great. The freshmen are more comfortable with us, we’re starting to understand how our head coach coaches [and] what her style is, so I think everyone is really fitting in.
Q: How have the freshmen performed so far this year?
A: They have done really well. I’ve been really impressed with them. In practice, they have been working super hard, and they’ve definitely shown results in their first tournament [the Cissie Leary Invitational in Philadelphia]. Carol [Finke ’18] and Val [Shklover ’18] played in the quarterfinals in the “B” Draw and ended up making it to the semis of doubles, which is really impressive. Sunday [Swett ’18] with her debut last weekend, her first collegiate match, pulled a tough one out, which is really great to see. And Elizabeth [Zordani ’18] has been doing very well too. She won her first round at Penn, then played one of the top players in our region and won consolation doubles at Penn.
Q: What are you thoughts on how the team will perform at ITA Northeast Regionals, which is coming up this weekend?
A: We just found out who is playing. Unfortunately, the freshmen won’t be playing in the singles because only a limited number of people can play. But Carol is playing with Sherry [Li ’17] and Val is playing with [Madeleine Hamilton ’16] in doubles. We hosted regionals my freshman year, which was a lot of fun. So it’s great to be able to host senior year since we’re used to our courts, obviously. Everyone may not be playing, but everyone will be contributing to people’s wins. I’m really excited. It’s going to be a long, long couple of days.
Q: What are the team’s goals for this year?
A: In terms of ranking, we’re definitely looking to take the Ivy [championship] back. We had won three years in a row, and last year we tied for second, so that’s been our main goal. But in general, having fun is really important since tennis is very stressful, a huge time commitment, so there are definitely some rough days. But I think in general being able to have fun, and really being great teammates, and just continuing the great Yale women’s tennis culture that has been going on for years.
Q: As a senior, what are your own goals for this year?
A: I just want to win Ivys again. In terms of lineup, where I’m playing, or whom I’m playing with, that’s not really under my control. So, my goal is for the team to win Ivys and the team to be successful. That is what will make me most happy.