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.
|Tennis Idol?||Justine Henin||Forehand or Backhand?||Forehand|
|Fitness or Practice?||Practice||Hard Court or Clay Court?||
|Favourite tournament?||Wimbledon||Leafs or Raptors or TFC?||
|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?||Hot|
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.