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College Spotlight: Jamie Loeb, North Carolina

April 22, 2014 08:00 AM
North Carolina freshman Jamie Loeb
Loeb has been ranked No. 1 in the college rankings since February.

By Sally Milano, USTA.com

Jamie Loeb has had a phenomenal freshman season playing for the University of North Carolina women's tennis team. The 19-year-old from Ossining, N.Y., has tallied a 45-2 overall singles record and is ranked No. 1 in the ITA women's rankings, a spot she has held since February. Loeb is also half of one of the top doubles teams in the country, as she and fellow freshman Hayley Carter of Hilton Head, S.C., are currently ranked third in the nation.

Prior to playing at UNC, Loeb attended the John McEnroe Academy in New York and was the top junior prospect in the country. She had an outstanding junior career, with results that included reaching the Wimbledon quarterfinals last year, and winning the doubles title and finishing runner-up in singles at the prestigious USTA International Spring Championships, also in 2013. She has had success at the pro level as well, winning three $10,000 USTA Pro Circuit titles, at Sumter, S.C., last year and in Buffalo, N.Y., and Amelia Island, Fla., in 2012.

Loeb is featured in the latest USTA.com College Spotlight and talks about her decision to attend college over going pro, the success she’s had so early in her collegiate career, the biggest difference between junior and college tennis and much more.

USTA.com: You were a top recruit in your graduating class. What made you choose North Carolina?

Jamie Loeb: The most important factor in my decision was the coaching staff. I felt they would help my game progress. I love my teammates, and I knew we would give each other the support that’s needed to win a national championship.

USTA.com: Was the decision to attend college and not turn pro right away a difficult one?

Jamie Loeb: It was a difficult decision because I had many people tell me that I should turn pro and others tell me I should go to college. I was torn between the two, but I am very satisfied with my decision. I think I needed to mature more both physically and mentally. I also wanted an education so I have something to fall back on.

USTA.com: You are close to completing your freshman year. Has college been what you expected so far?

Jamie Loeb: College has been awesome. I’ve met so many people that I am now close with. I was nervous in the beginning, being away from home, but I adjusted smoothly.

USTA.com: You are currently ranked No. 1 in the ITA rankings. Did you expect to have this level of success so early in your college career? And do you feel added pressure being college tennis' top player?

Jamie Loeb: I didn’t expect to have so much success right away. I was slightly in shock when I won [the ITA Women's All-American Championships] in the fall. It was crazy how many matches I had to go through to win it all. I don’t think about the pressure of being at the top. Being No. 1 motivates me to keep raising my level so I can maintain my ranking.

USTA.com: What is the biggest difference between junior tennis and college tennis?

Jamie Loeb: The biggest difference is that in college, you are no longer playing for yourself. Playing for a team is a great experience because you have teammates right beside you cheering you on. In juniors, you are by yourself on the court. The team atmosphere is so much fun and fires me up even more.

USTA.com: What are your goals for yourself and your team this season?

Jamie Loeb: As a team, we have been saying all season how we want to win the ACC tournament as well as NCAAs. Adding on to that, I also want to win the NCAA individual tournament in singles and doubles.

USTA.com: How do you balance tennis and academics?

Jamie Loeb: I have always been disciplined with my academics. I usually set a schedule of when I want to complete my work, both long term and short term. I get my work in after class and at night. Sometimes it’s hard to block out the amount of work I have to do during practice. It can be overwhelming, but it definitely helps to have a plan.

USTA.com: If you could give high school students one piece of advice as they begin the college search process, what would it be?

Jamie Loeb: I would tell high school students to definitely not go by the name of the college but instead do research to find the best fit for them. Don’t feel pressure to commit so early. It’s better to take your time, and if the school is really interested in you, they will wait.



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