USTA Section: Missouri Valley
Amish Dudeja - Junior
Tessa Klassen - Junior
Ty Merkle - Sophomore
Zach Merkle - Senior
Gaby Ramirez - Sophomore
Corinne Walther - Junior
Chris Williams - Graduate
Teams Defeated: Iowa State, Saint Louis, Washington University
USTA.com: When did you discover that you had the talent to win as a team?
Our current team has such a great level of understanding of each other and each other’s games. Each team member is so encouraging that it makes it easy to have confidence in both our mental and physical games, which is needed to succeed in tennis. This confidence that was built based on the encouragement of each team member and by each team member helped us to discover immediately that we had the talent to come together as a team and have great success.
USTA.com: How does your team unwind after a day of matches?
We will usually go back to the hotel and discuss the level of that day’s play: What we can improve upon, and what worked for us. We will eat dinner as a team, then try and get to bed early to prepare for the next day’s matches!
USTA.com: When you qualified, how did you celebrate?
Our last match of Sectionals was a must-win for us in order to qualify for Nationals, so the fact that we were all able to pull together and pull out a big win against Washington University, in what was one of the most exciting matches we’ve ever played as a team, really meant a lot. However, it is still important to be respectful of your opponent - so although it was a very exciting time, there was no major celebration on court. We save the celebration for off the court!
USTA.com: Tell us a bit about how your school is unique.
University of Missouri is truly an amazing institution, and we can say on behalf of everyone on the Club Tennis Team that it is a privilege to attend this school. Although it is large in size, there is a sense of camaraderie felt throughout the campus, giving it a smaller, more "homey" feel, which I think is a very unique characteristic and something that cannot be said for every large university. This same sense of camaraderie is felt and seen through the members of our tennis team.
USTA.com: If you were to list THREE specific things that need to happen in order to win a National Championship, they would be:
1) Determination to play to the best of our ability!
2) Confidence in your game and your teammate's games!
3) Team spirit!
USTA.com: How do you exhibit school spirit?
Whether we’re up or down in a match, we cheer each other on to the very end! Cheering is a vital key in motivating your teammates and instilling in them the kind of determination and confidence needed to win a National Championship.
USTA.com: Share with us a funny story about your team or team member(s).
It was Nationals last year and each member of the team was seated comfortably on the flight to Cary, dreaming of a National Championship. But one member was missing—Corinne Walther. She had gotten stuck behind a 30 person (child) choir from the United Kingdom. Once she finally got to the front of the line and checked her bags, she had about 20 minutes to make it through security and to the gate. She skipped to the front of the security line, only to be pulled aside for her bags to be re-scanned and for her to be wanded up and down. Six minutes to make it to the gate. As her name was being called on the overhead speakers, she sprinted through the airport like a scene out of a movie. As she made it to the gate with one minute to spare, she watched out the window as the plane and all of her teammates departed to Cary. Have no fear, though! Corinne made it on time for practice in Cary that day and has since learned to not cut it so close. Our teammates now keep a watchful eye on her and make sure she is on time for flights and those dreadful 8:00 a.m. matches!
USTA.com: Share with us an uplifting story about your team or team member(s).
Unfortunately, a lot of our team members have experienced injuries throughout the years. However, it is through our tough spirit and determination that has helped us to work through those injuries, and to improve and be even better players than we were before!