Merchant of Tennis caught up with Carol Zhao from Richmond Hill, Ontario to learn more about her experiences on and off the court.  She had a fantastic sophomore season as the number 1 player for the Stanford Cardinals. She is also the first Canadian since 1998 to reach the singles final at the NCAA Championships.

Here is what she had to say:


Q: When did you start playing Tennis?

I started playing tennis around the age of five. I didn't begin to pursue it seriously until I was ten or eleven years old. I played all around the Greater Toronto Area, primarily at the now Aviva Centre. It was called the Rexall Centre when I trained there.


Q: How exciting was it to get a wildcard into the Rogers Cup?

The Rogers Cup was a great time! I often came to watch the tournament when I was younger and it is special to be able to play this tournament. I would've loved to advance further in singles, but I was really pleased to have advanced to the quarter finals of doubles with Sharon Fichman in our first time playing together! 


Q: You were ranked #2 in singles, #1 in doubles, All American singles and Doubles, Pac-12 first team singles and doubles Team of the year. What accomplishments are you most proud of at Stanford?

Frankly, I was most proud of being recognized as an ITA scholar-athlete. As a student-athlete, I feel that was a tribute to the hard work I put in both on the court and in the classroom throughout the year.


Q: What advice would you give to girls deciding on colleges for a tennis scholarship?

I think the experience of becoming a NCAA student-athlete is a unique privilege; all of us are extremely fortunate to be able to simultaneously dedicate our lives to academics and athletics. I feel the process through which we balance and manage these responsibilities is very valuable. Stanford was sort of always something I had aspired to achieve one day and so upon getting the opportunity, it was not a difficult decision for me. If I have any advice to give, it would be to think long term. You're not just making a 4 year decision, you're making a lifetime decision, so go with your gut and what you think reflects or represents you the best. 


Q: What do you hope to achieve in the upcoming tennis season at Stanford.

I just want to continue to improve my game and learn to enjoy the process. I think if that happens, the results will come by themselves.


Speed Round 

Tennis Idol?
Justine Henin
Forehand or Backhand?
Fitness or Practice?
Hard Court or Clay Court?
Grass haha
Favourite tournament?
Leafs or Raptors or TFC?
Blue Jays?
Ice Cream or Cake?
Ice Cream!
Favourite cuisine?
I like everything!
How many languages do you speak?
Two (English and Mandarin)
Hot or Cold Vacation?



Be sure to follow Carol on Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date on all of her accomplishments.  You can also follow Merchant of Tennis for up-to-date information about the newest tennis gear and specials. 


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