Where Are They Now: Featuring Emma Davis
James Maimonis, Communications and Engagement Coordinator | May 22, 2018
’Where Are They Now’ is a monthly feature that highlights former New England junior players who have continued on to play NCAA tennis. We will be catching up with players currently competing at all NCAA levels across the country. Our May highlight is Emma Davis.
WINSTON-SALEM, NC- Emma Davis, of Cohasset, MA, is finishing her junior season on the Wake Forest women’s tennis team. She played both No. 1 singles and doubles this year and ended the regular season with career best NCAA rankings in both. She finished the year (May 3rd rankings) at No. 25 in singles (highest for any player from New England) and No. 15 in doubles with partner Chandler Carter (2nd highest for a New England player behind Ellyse Hamlin). Emma has received conference Player of the Week honors as well as All-Academic Team, and on May 3, she received her most significant individual NCAA honor to date—she was named to the All-ACC First Team. ADVERTISEMENT At the time of writing, Emma is preparing for the NCAA Singles and Doubles National Championships on her home court at Wake Forest.
USTA New England recently caught up with Emma to get an inside look at her college success thus far.
Each season you have increased your NCAA singles ranking- High of No. 103 Freshman year, No. 61 sophomore year and No. 25 junior year. What can you attribute your growth and success to?
Every year, I’ve become more mature and learn more about game and about myself. This year in particular, in terms of emotion on the court, I’ve improved a lot. The last two years were up and down and sometimes I felt all over the place. I still feel that a little here and there, but I’m definitely more focused on my strengths and the positives now. There is always going to be something every day, and you know you’re not going to play amazing every match, but finding ways to win and to playing to my strengths has been a huge difference.
As you’ve become an upperclassman and learned more about yourself, how has your role on the team changed?
We have a small team, so everyone plays an important leadership role, but playing No. 1 singles, I felt more responsibility to lead by example on the court and to not misbehave. The freshmen look up to you, so you always have to try and behave, and as I’ve matured, it’s a lot easier to do that. I feel now that I’d be more disappointed in myself if I had a bad day and let it affect more than just me, but the team.
What did it mean to you to be recognized as one of the top players in your conference (ACC) this season?
I’m really still focused on the season right now, so it’s hard for me to focus on the individual awards. It was an awesome feeling though just knowing the coaches voted for me and that hard work pays off.
How much of an emphasis have you and partner Chandler Carter put on doubles this season?
It’s pretty amazing to be playing with Chandler. She’s my roommate and best friend, and we work so well as a team. Last season we struggled though, so our coach, Jeff Wyshner, decided we’d primarily work on doubles this year. We’ve played so much doubles, working on confidence, technique and tactics. Also, the addition of assistant Daneika Borthwick has been huge. We’ve worked with her so much and we’ve seen our doubles improve significantly.
Your team won two rounds of the ACC tournament, a round in NCAAs and entered the NCAA tournament ranked No. 29 in the country. How would you sum up your team’s 2017/18 campaign?
Our goal was always to get to 20 wins, as we’ve had 19 the past two seasons. And we finally got there this season (20-14). We started out strong reaching Indoor Nationals for the first time in a long time, and even reached the top 10 at one point. We hit some bumps in the road with injuries and lost a lot of close 4-3 matches. But we recovered well and came out and played well in the ACC Tournament. We lost to UNC, which is nothing to be ashamed about (No. 2 nationally at the time). We had a good win in the NCAAs beating Arizona State. I’m proud of the way we played, holding them off in some great three-set matches. The win capped off a successful season and will help us for next year, when we only lose one senior and are bringing in three great freshmen.
What was the vibe like at NCAA Team Nationals, and how excited are you for the upcoming Individual Championships?
There are always some nerves going into the NCAAs. It’s what you’ve been working for all season and you have one chance. It’s really a different experience but an exciting one. It was really cool to get that win. And then we played No. 7 Georgia in front of their home crowd, which was another great experience. It felt like the whole world rooting against us and you could barely hear anything.
It’s an honor to be playing in the Individual Championships for the first time. I’m so focused on training because these players are so incredibly talented and I want to play the best I can amongst these greats. I’ll have the support of the home crowd that’s been with us all season, so positive cheers can only pump you up and give you a little more hope and motivation.
Fellow New Englander Kimmy Guerin graduated from Wake last season. What was your relationship with her like and how influential was she in your college experience?
Kimmy was a role model for me and I really looked up to her. I played doubles with her a few times as a junior, and when I visited Wake, she told me she loved everything about it and never had anything negative to say. I’m a real homebody and felt a little homesick freshman year, so she really helped with my transition. It was nice having a little piece from home here with me. She played No. 1 singles, always had a great attitude, and was always there to help me when I needed it.
You were an extremely successful junior player. How much of a role did USTA New England play in your growth and development as a player?
It played a big role, especially traveling to all the tournaments I did throughout New England. I had so many amazing girls I played with, and I’m grateful I had them to push me. Without them, I don’t think I’d have been as prepared as I was going into Wake. It’s great to see they’ve made the transition from New England to big time colleges. I still play at the Weymouth Club and taught there last summer, so I still keep in touch with so many people. You don’t even realize the relationships you build through tennis, some of which you’ll have forever.
For more info on Emma, visit the Wake Forest women’s tennis homepage.