UCLA sophomore Andrea Remynse
© Don Liebig
Andrea Remynse in action
© Scott Chandler
Andrea Remynse reaches to hit a backhand
© Scott Chandler
Andrea Remynse of Battle Creek, Mich., is a sophomore on the 11th-ranked UCLA women's tennis team. Remynse, 20, helped lead the Bruins to its first NCAA team title in the school's history last year as a freshman, going undefeated in all of her matches and being named to the All-Tournament team playing at No. 4 singles. A former No. 1 player as a junior, Remynse is currently ranked third in the ITA women's doubles rankings, along with partner Yasmin Schnack. The 5-foot, 8-inch right-hander recently took time from her busy schedule to answer some questions for USTA.com.
USTA.com: You were one of the top players in the class of 2007. Did you ever think about going pro right from juniors, or did you always know you wanted to go to college?
Andrea Remynse: I grew up in a household that stressed the value of an education. My dad insisted that school was the most important thing in my life. So when it came time for me to decide whether to try to play professionally or go to school, it wasn't a hard decision. My parents always taught me that tennis was a game that could help open a lot of doors for me, and it has! I go to the best academic and athletically combined college in the world. I am very lucky.
USTA.com: What were some of the adjustments in transitioning from ITFs and Pro Circuit events in your junior career to playing on a college team?
Andrea Remynse: The biggest adjustment is learning how to play on a team. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices to benefit the team. Juniors are not used to thinking about the well being of other people. They just think about how to get themselves better at tennis, whereas on a college team we are always thinking about how we can improve together as a team. Another adjustment is learning how to play for your team. It is really exciting playing for something or someone other than yourself. I have gotten to the point where my favorite part of tennis is when the season starts. I love playing for my team and winning for them!
USTA.com: What are your favorite things about college tennis and about UCLA?
Andrea Remynse: My favorite thing about college tennis is doubles first. Doubles is the most important point for us, and I love playing with my partner, Yasmin Schnack, when the doubles point is close. Doubles is much faster than singles, and I really like that the team that wins the doubles point carries the momentum into the singles. Winning the doubles point can completely change a team’s outlook going into singles. My favorite thing about UCLA is my teammates. They are my best friends, and I would not trade them for anything.
USTA.com: Last spring, you guys had an amazing run, winning the NCAA title for the first time in school history, and you were named to the All-Tournament team at No. 4 singles. Can you talk a little about that experience?
Andrea Remynse: Winning the NCAA team title was the coolest thing that has ever happened to me in tennis. The experience was unreal, especially for me because I was the only freshman. In 2007, UCLA lost in the finals to Georgia Tech. I was not on the second-place team, but, last year, all I heard from the girls who were was that they never wanted to feel that kind of disappointment again. So all year, we worked really hard with one goal in mind -- winning the NCAA title. When the tournament finally came, we knew we had the talent to win, even though we were seeded seventh. I played No. 4 singles, and I won all of my matches during the tournament. It was great to know that I helped UCLA win its first tennis national championship and 102nd overall. All of the hard work we did during the year really paid its dividends.
USTA.com: You graduated some great senior leaders last year. How has your role on the team changed this year?
Andrea Remynse: The seniors who graduated last year cannot be replaced. They were all great tennis players and, most important, really good friends and people. I have almost impossible shoes to fill. I have tried to take a bigger leadership role this year. Basically, I just need to be someone for the new freshmen to look up to.
USTA.com: What are your goals for yourself and for your team this season?
Andrea Remynse: My goals for myself are to keep improving every day, and my doubles partner and I think that we have a decent shot at winning the national championship in doubles. UCLA has a long history of winning individual doubles titles in women’s tennis, and we want to add to the history. My goal for our team is to make another title run. We are a really talented team, and if we keep working hard and believe in ourselves, I know that anything is possible.
USTA.com: What is a typical day like for you – practice schedule, strength and conditioning, classes?
Andrea Remynse: Well, the new quarter just started, and most recently I have been hitting with one of our coaches, Bill Zaima, for an hour in the morning a couple times a week from 7:45-8:45. I have Spanish class Monday-Friday from 9-10. On Tuesday and Thursday, I have history class from 11-12:15. And Tuesday and Thursday night, I have a U.S. foreign policy class from 5-7 p.m. We have practice Monday-Friday from 12:30-3 and fitness from 3-4. I also have to find some time to get some rehab and treatment done in the training room in the morning between classes and practice.
USTA.com: You come from a tennis family, with your sisters all being top junior players, as well. Do things get competitive at home on the courts?
Andrea Remynse: Actually, I did not play much with my sisters growing up because I was always traveling for junior tournaments. They are very competitive with each other, though. When I went home last, I played a couple of games with my brother, who is 11. I played him left-handed, and I beat him the first time, but he figured me out, so now he beats me almost every time we play, when I play with my left hand. It is very competitive, though. A lot of trash talk goes on while we play.
USTA.com: What players did you look up to growing up?
Andrea Remynse: I looked up to Lindsay Davenport and Kim Clijsters. They both had such contrasting game styles, but both of them are first-class people. They are great sports figures to look up to because of their obvious tennis achievements but also because they are true champions of the game of tennis. I can’t wait to watch Kim on her comeback!
USTA.com: What advice do you have for junior tennis players who want to play in college?
Andrea Remynse: Enjoy the experience because time flies by! Also, do not make up your mind about going to college or not going to college at a really young age. I feel like so many juniors are turning professional at such a young age, and then they turn around when they are 18 or 19 and say, “Hey, wait, I want to go to college,” but it’s too late. College tennis is a lot of fun! Do not pass it up.