April 26, 2011
Before she begins law school this fall, senior tennis player Andrea Remynse has some unfinished business to take care of on the tennis court. She recently sat down with uclabruins.com contributing writer Nikki Klobucher to discuss her plans for the rest of the season, her fondest memories at UCLA, and what she plans to do once her competitive tennis career is over.
The Bruins are currently ranked No. 6 in the nation, having finished the regular season on a very strong note. Now, as you look to the individual Pac-10 Championships on April 28, what is your mentality as you focus on postseason goals?
"We look at the Pac-10 Championships as a way to get better individually and a way to get some practice in over the long break between the end of the regular season and the NCAA Tournament. It's great to do well there, but we see it more as a chance to improve physically and mentally in order to be in the best shape that we can be for the NCAA Team Championships."
Speaking of the NCAA Tournament, how are you feeling about the team's chances at this year's event?
"I'm feeling really good about it. Since the Indoors we have been one of the most dominant teams in the country. We didn't start off the way we wanted to, but we certainly finished off our season on a high note and we are looking forward to going there and just taking it one match at a time."
As a senior student-athlete, how are you coping with the fact that this is your last season playing competitive tennis?
"It's kind of nostalgic, yet at the same time I am looking forward to moving into the next step in my life. Tennis has been a part of my life since I was very young and I am looking forward to a new chapter and doing something different. But with that being said, for the next six weeks my complete focus is on tennis and I want us to do as well as we possibly can."
This season you have been playing a majority of your doubles matches with freshman Courtney Dolehide. Explain the dynamics of your relationship and how has it been taking on the leadership role this year.
"This year has been really different more so than any other. I didn't play doubles my freshman year so I can't even relate to the pressure that she's under. Not only is she in the doubles lineup as a freshman, but she's playing at the No. 1 position. She's got some really big shoes to fill, and I think that she has been doing a really good job. For me it has been really different being the more experienced doubles player and being the leader. I feel like we complement each other really well. We're friends off the court as well and that definitely helps. Overall, I'd say she's been doing a great job."
How has your relationship with your teammates and coach Stella Sampras Webster helped you throughout your collegiate career?
"Stella has been great. She leads by example and that is something that I admire about her. She is not the most vocal person, but she is a very classy individual. As for my teammates, they're my best friends at this school. Yasmin (Schnack) was my best friend for three years and I miss her terribly. But this year, I've gotten along great with Maya (Johansson) and Noelle (Hickey). We are seniors together and are looking forward to starting new chapters in our lives together."
You were on the first UCLA women's tennis team to capture an NCAA Championship in 2008. What has this experience meant to you?
"As a freshman, I kind of had the mentality of, `Well, of course we were going to win. Why wouldn't we?' I had never been to the NCAA Tournament before so I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know the difference between the NCAAs and simply playing a dual match at UCLA. Looking back, I was just completely naïve. And to be honest, I think that really helped because I didn't feel the added pressure about it then. But I can't say that that's how it was my sophomore year and last year. I definitely felt the pressure and knew what it was. That experience of winning the whole thing, you want to do it again. I think wanting it so badly the last two years hurt me a little bit. Hopefully this year I'll be able to find a happy medium. I would like to be a part of UCLA's second NCAA Championship team."
Having seen what it takes to win a national championship, do you think that the team has what it takes to win another one this year?
"I definitely do. This team has worked so hard and I couldn't be more proud of how we finished out the season. We have gone 11-1 since the Indoors. When we played Stanford the second time, the score was not indicative of how close it was. We played them as close as a dual match could possibly be. They're the No. 1 team in the nation and we know that if we could compete with them like we did, then we can compete with anybody. Hopefully we can take that confidence into the NCAA's in a few weeks."
You have a lot of siblings who also play tennis. Has coming from a family of tennis players influenced your love for the game?
"My sister, Maggie, is finishing her sophomore season at Western Michigan University. She plays No. 1 singles for them. My other sister, Mimi, is a senior in high school but she doesn't play tennis. Sarah is a sophomore in high school and a very good player. She has very big dreams for her tennis and hopes to play at the University of Michigan someday. My little brother, Louis, is just 13 but is quite good in his age group. My dad pushed us all to play and he had high expectations for all of us. I wanted his approval growing up and that is where my competitive drive sparked. Tennis was just a part of life growing up and I couldn't imagine it any other way."
If you could play any other sport, what would it be and why?
"I really like to watch basketball, but I don't think I'm tall enough. I really like to watch golf. I like the tactical part of golf. Tennis is a tactical game as well, so I feel like I could relate mostly to golf."
What lessons has the game of tennis taught you that you can take off the court and apply to the game of life?
"Tennis has taught me about hard work for sure. In tennis you are not going to get anywhere unless you put in the time, and I feel like that's probably how it is in life too. Tennis has really taught me to overcome obstacles because the adversity that you face while playing a tennis match is huge. You are forced to make thousands of decisions in a short period of time, and I think that's how it is in life too. So the two are related in a lot of different ways."
You decided to go to Michigan State Law School in the fall. What has inspired you to pursue a career in law?
"I majored in Political Science and I knew that I wanted to go to graduate school. I always watched Law & Order and read all the John Grisham books, so I grew up with it. I think I want to get a job in athletic administration, so hopefully my law degree will open up some doors and get me that opportunity."
You grew up in Michigan and came all the way out to UCLA for college. What have been some of the most notable differences between growing up in the Midwest and attending college in Southern California?
"I'm really glad that I was able to get away from Michigan and the Midwest and go on and have a different experience for college. I wouldn't trade it for anything. But I do miss home and the Midwest culture. I even miss the seasons!"
So where do you see yourself eventually settling?
"My favorite city that I've ever lived in is Chicago so I would love to live there someday."
Reflecting on your time as a UCLA student-athlete, what has been your proudest moment?
"Coming here as a freshman and winning the NCAA Championship was definitely a big moment for me. But last year was probably my favorite year being a Bruin. I think we had the best season that any UCLA team has had during the regular season. I also clinched a couple of 4-3 matches, and Yasmin and I won the Pac-10 Doubles Tournament. So it was really just a good season overall. And off the court, I'm very proud that I have been able to do pretty well here at UCLA academically."