Aug. 18, 2009
It's August and the Acosta center is strangely devoid of the usual variety of athletes crowding inside it daily. So of course people must be wondering, "Where is the UCLA women's tennis team and what, if anything, are they doing with themselves now that season's over?" So I took the liberty of checking in with each of my teammates.
Yasmin Schnack, who played No. 1 last year and ended the season with 17-4 record, has had a busy summer so far. Not to anyone's surprise, she has collected some hardware as a member of the USTA Summer Collegiate Team. Ironically, she has had to team up with several USC Trojans, however has successfully put aside any remnants of last year's heated rivalry to reach the finals in doubles of a Futures event in Atlanta and won another event in Evansville (Ind.). A trip out to London for Wimbledon to watch her friend, professional Vania King, has helped encourage her to be our senior leader next year. She said, "It was awesome to be in the professional atmosphere and you can definitely say I was inspired." I think that can only mean good things for us Bruins next season.
Her fellow senior, Stephanie Wetmore, chose to stay in L.A. (even though her beloved dog, "The Poo Master" eagerly awaits her in Ontario). Who could leave California for Canada anyway? She started the summer training with her favorite co-worker (me!) and our new strength coach (Jackie Harris) for the ITA Riviera Open. Not to anyone's surprise, we blew the competition away and took home the doubles crown, winning a gift bag complete with a coffee mug and iTunes gift card. She also began her TV broadcasting career by scoring a gig as co-host for Bruin Talk, UCLA's ever-popular intercollegiate athletics talk show. You can see her in action here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9ct3yXkddE and be sure to tune in to Bruin Talk again as she will definitely be gracing it with her presence in the very near future.
Maya Johansson, our favorite player from France, happens to be my new roommate. She agreed that our summer highlight is our new apartment, even with the slanting couch and unusually colored chairs. She's been taking summer classes for her political science major and working out with Jackie. As I write this, Maya is most likely working up a sweat on a red clay court somewhere in Paris with her sister, top-100-ranked pro Mathilde. But the real action for Maya begins later this month when she hits NYC for the US Open. She's been selected to work as an assistant for Lacoste, and will look to impress them with her charm as she picks up valuable "real world" working experience.
Andrea Remynse has been missing from L.A. all summer as she's in Battle Creek, Mich. (home of Kellogg's cereal!) working tennis camps and training. She's also been competing in the ITA Summer Circuit, playing doubles with her younger sister. It's helped her learn a valuable lesson, as she told me, "I promise next year to cover more of the court in doubles because I know how much easier it makes it for your partner can help you out sometimes." I see this as a very positive sign for UCLA doubles indeed.
Sophomore Carling Seguso has been in Texas for much of the summer. She's been training at the Lakes Academy (never heard of it, but everything's bigger in Texas so I'm sure it's legit) and taking summer school classes. I hear she's falling in love with sociology. She revealed that Texas rain is a pleasant change from our dry L.A. training environment, where rain showers are as rare as one of our coaches showing up late to practice (which never happens. Apparently even infamous L.A. traffic can't stop a Bruin coach on a mission).
As for me, I started the summer by training for the ITA Riviera Open with Steph and our strength coach Jackie (because that's how championships are won). I kept busy by taking a calculus class and a History of Rock class (don't laugh, it's a difficult load!) and by working at the UCLA Alumni Center. That job was only topped by my next working experience, which was made even better because my co-worker was the one and only Stephanie Wetmore. We worked in the media office at the LA Tennis Open (an ATP event on campus headlined by the likes of Marat Safin and Tommy Haas). I'm proud to say we mastered highly-important errands such as Jamba Juice runs and finding AAA batteries. We did, however, write daily recaps that have mysteriously never seen print. The highlight of that week was our credentials that made us look legit and enabled us to sit in on a press conferences for Pete Sampras and Stefan Edberg. I was even tempted to snap obnoxious pictures and beg for autographs but decided I was far too cool for that sort of fanatic behavior and remained hidden as a press imposter.
Incoming freshmen Pamela Montez and Stephanie Hoffpauir are getting ready for their initiation as Bruins. Hoffpauir has been playing pro circuit events all summer, as has Montez, the reigning Women's Open champion at Ojai. The entire team waits in eager anticipation to greet them in September.
So this concludes my summer recap of each valuable member of the UCLA women's tennis team. Check back for future updates and remember to plan your schedule around our matches this season. GO BRUINS!