Written by Student Assistant Chelsea Flintoft '14
Elaine Chesoni (EC) joined the Santa Clara women's tennis team this past summer and has already made an impact competing in all four individual fall tournaments in both singles and doubles. SantaClaraBroncos.com (SCU) got to know the senior Blythewood, South Carolina native and ask a few questions about her experience on the team so far, her goals for the Spring, and what inspires her to keep competing everyday.
SCU: Talk about your process of joining the team this year as a senior walk-on.
EC: Being on the tennis team is something that I've always wanted to do. I've actually been trying out since freshman year. Every year it was something different; Ben would have me participate in a trial period of being on the team for 3 months in the Fall, or come out to a few of the practices and play sets to see if it was a good fit, or participate in a round robin tournament with other walk-ons for a possible spot on the team. This year was different; he gave me a spot based on my tournament performance over the summer, and I'm very proud of that accomplishment.
SCU: The team had a successful fall season. What are you going to do differently to improve in the Spring?
EC: I think that we are moving in the right direction—everyone is working hard and improving every day. Out strength trainer, Sherman Trigg keeps stressing that training for the season begins now (as in 2 weeks ago), so I think that it will be most important to keep that in mind and keep training hard during these breaks and throughout the season. I think the biggest goal this year is that we really want to win the West Coast Conference, so everyone putting in hard work for that.
SCU: Do you have any pre-match rituals or emotions you go through?
EC: Besides our regular warm up, I listen to some music for about 10-15 minutes to clear my head and get focused before I play.
SCU: Tell us your favorite inspirational quote and why you like it.
EC: My favorite inspirational quote comes from the tattooed forearm of one of the biggest fighters I know, Stanislas Wawrinka: "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."
I like the quote because of this guy's story; he's an underrated but extremely talented player. They call him "the other Swiss" because he really pales in comparison to Roger Federer, but just last year he had a couple of amazing runs at some really big tournaments and they asked him about this quote on his arm. To paraphrase, he says that if you're not top-three in the world, it can seem like you don't win so many tournaments and you're always loosing. But you need to take the positive from those loses, go back to work and keep playing.
Debatably, nobody fails better than Wawrinka, and that fight has lead him to some remarkable victories. It just goes to show you that you may not win them all, but never stop fighting. If he can do it, so can I.
SCU: Any Christmas Break plans?
EC: I'll be staying at school for most of break, working and training for the spring.