Sports Tennis

For junior, focus for upcoming season is on the team

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As the tennis team prepares for the spring season, junior Despoina Vogasari said they’re looking to continue the trend of breaking records. | File photo/The Cougar

Junior Despoina Vogasari is picking up exactly where she left off last year.

Vogasari is No. 42 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association singles rankings and has dominated since the beginning of her tenure at UH.

In her first year, she won the American Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year and followed that up with AAC Player of the Year last year.

Vogasari just finished a successful fall season, where she won AAC Player of the Month honors in September and October. She went 3-0 at the Rice Invitational and finished runner-up at the Texas Regional Championships.

The junior wrapped up her fall season last week at the prestigious USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships in New York, where she finished in the Round of 16.

She ended her fall campaign with a 10-3 record and will enjoy some down-time in preparation for the spring season.

Vogasari sat down with The Cougar to recap the fall season and look forward to the spring.

TC: How do you feel about your fall season?

DV: I think I did well. I’m satisfied with my performance. I lost three matches this fall, and that I’m not happy about. All three were in the third set, and all of them were matches I believe that I could’ve won if I would’ve done some things differently. But overall, I’m satisfied.

TC: Was there something specific that kept coming up and leading to those late losses?

DV: They were all in the third set, so I was pretty tired. But most of it was mental, nothing physical. I was in good shape, and I was confident in my shots, but I think it came down to not being as mentally strong as I would like. All three girls that I lost to were amazing tennis players and did great in the season, so I’m happy I, at least, lost to players that were extremely talented.

TC: You’re now in your junior year with a fair amount of success in your past. What has aided you in your growth and maturity as a player?

DV: Before I came into college, for me, tennis was mostly a physical game. I just went out there and relied on my shots. But since I’ve came to college I’ve realized tennis is 90 percent mental. It’s more than being on the court and being able to run around. It’s how you deal with difficult situations, how you talk to yourself, how you react when something doesn’t go your way. There’s a lot that goes on in your head, and the mental aspect is the most important part of this game.

TC: You have certainly established a dominant reputation for yourself, especially in the AAC.         Does that effect the way your opponents look at you and perform on the court?

DV: When you’re the underdog, as I was my freshman year, everybody treats you differently. So, it was easier going into the matches. I could just play my tennis and nobody cared. But right now, every single player is dying to play me, and they want to give me their best shot. They come in with no anxiety or nervousness and just play their game. I have to be careful in every single match because I’m going to get their best shot, and in our conference, all the players are really good.

TC: The fall season is over now, and you will resume along with the rest of the team in January. What do you feel you need to work on as you prepare for the spring?

DV: I’m going to focus a lot on my conditioning and working in the weight room. Spring is a long season with a lot of matches and some are back-to-back, so it’s really important I’m good physically. There are also some aspects of my game that I really want to work on with my coach, just tweaking some details.

TC: What goals do you have for the team to accomplish in the spring season?

DV: We have developed a reputation for breaking records. We’ve done that the last two years, so I would like to break another record this year as a team. With the new coaching staff, we’re getting a lot better, and I think we’re going to be better on the court. We have a strong schedule. It will be tough, but I think we’ll be ready.

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