By Frank Aimetti – STAFF WRITER
Tennis standout Louise Lopez, in her third year on the Hofstra tennis roster, has received numerous accolades for her performance both on and off the tennis court, being recognized as not only an accomplished athlete, but also an excellent student. The recipient of awards such as the CAA Commissioner’s Academic Award, CAA Player of the Week and the GoHofstra Student-Athlete of the Week, Louise has shown that it is indeed possible for one to excel both athletically and academically.
Frank Aimetti: How would you rate your season so far, both individually and with the team as a whole?
Louise Lopez: We don’t have new players, we have the same team members as last year and I feel like we’ve improved a lot compared to last year. We haven’t really had that many matches. We’ve had the U.S. Open Tournament, which is held at the U.S. Open venue, and we all did really well I feel. Other than that, we’ve played one other school and have the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Regional this weekend.
FA: For yourself, are you happy with your performance so far? Do you think there’s room to improve and if so, in what areas?
LL: There’s definitely room for improvement, I played much better last year and it’s been a rough start but I think I can get back on track.
FA: Your [doubles] partner is Bianca Derrick, who you’ve been playing with since last year. You’ve definitely done well together, especially compared to your [doubles record in] first year. You’ve experienced increased success. How would you explain that? Would you say that it’s increased chemistry?
LL: We’re really good friends off the court and I think the important thing between doubles partners is communication and we communicate really well. We work really well together, we rarely argue and when we argue, we resolve it easily. We complement each other as well, like my strengths complement her strengths.
FA: Can you talk about that a little bit more, about what your skills are on the court and how they complement each other?
LL: She’s really good at the net and I’m good at the baseline so I’m able to set her up and she is able to kill it. Since she’s so good at the net, it tends to work out.
FA: You have the ITA Regional coming up. What are your general thoughts on that?
LL: We don’t really know who is going yet since we get the email today about who qualified, but last year, I beat a girl from Yale and I think I played really well. It’s an exciting time because it’s a major tournament and there’s really good players. There’s nothing to lose, we just go out there and play our best and see what happens.
FA: You’re a scholar-athlete, what’s the impact like on your classes and grades? Is it hard to maintain a good GPA or is it something you’re used to at this point?
LL: I’ve been playing for 11 years so I feel like my work ethic, since I was young, has been good. It can get a bit stressful at times, but our team has had the highest average GPA this year so I think as a team, we do really well with our academics.
FA: Are there any times where you’re thinking, “I have a ton of work coming up but I also have a tournament?” How do you deal with that?
LL: Yeah, this weekend we have the ITA’s so if I go then I’m going to be really stressed because on the Tuesday after, I have three tests and they’re all in my difficult classes so I’m a bit nervous.
FA: What’s a typical day like for you, in terms of when you wake up, classes, practice and everything else?
LL: Tuesdays and Thursdays, we have morning workouts at seven, and on Wednesday, we have morning workouts at 6:30. After that, we go to class, and then I have training from 12:00-2:00 p.m. From then on, I have classes until about 9:00 p.m. I don’t really have much free time.
FA: For the rest of the season, what are your expectations? What do you think you’ve done well and what can you improve on?
LL: I’ve definitely improved my mental strength. I see progress when, for instance, I’m having a bad day, but then [I’m] still able to come back and win the match. When I was younger and started to feel down, I’d lose the match easily. Now, I’m able to control my [mental game] much easier. Skills-wise, I feel like I’ve gotten stronger and faster. As a team, we’ve all gotten a lot better consistency-wise, there’s less errors, less unforced errors. As for expectations, we had a good record last year; we ended with seven wins and seven losses so I think we should be able to improve by finishing this season with more wins than losses. I feel like a lot of the schools we could have beaten last year, we will beat this year.
FA: You had the team-best singles record last year, do you see yourself as a leader for the team? Do you feel any pressure to be a leader on the team?
LL: Our team captain is Bianca Derrick but I feel like we can all be leaders in our own way. If I see that someone needs help, I’m definitely willing to help them both on the court and off the court. I don’t think anybody [on the team] finds it difficult to come to me for help with anything.