After finishing 19th in Nationals last year, the USF Tennis Club opened up competition Sept. 13 with its annual “Bull Run Tournament” on the USF campus. Sree Rao, President of the Tennis Club, was the head organizer of the tournament and also a Women’s Doubles competitor.
“The tournament is basically a round robin within your pool and then the following day is bracket play,” Rao said. “If you win you keep going, but if you lose you go into a back bracket or a consolation draw.”
Unfortunately, the tournament was cut short due to heavy rain Sunday, but the club was able to make it to quarterfinals before the stoppage of play.
“I was very pleased with how the team did. On the USF A team, we had 3 new players that performed well. I was certainly happy with our performance,” she said.
Rao, a 19-year-old junior majoring in Accounting, was also pleased with the amount of newcomers that the Tennis Club attracted.
More than half of the club’s players are newcomers who did not play last year and competed in the tournament. “It’s always an encouraging sign that we get new players. It does mean we lost a lot of seniors, but it’s nice to see people excited to join the Tennis Club,” she said.
Rao emphasized that the club is setting up to be very competitive with the goal falling nowhere short of the National Championship (Nationals).
“We’re hoping to make it to Nationals. You have to win states or place second in states to make it to Nationals. Last year we made nationals with UF, and this year we want to be top ten going into Nationals because we came up one match short (last year),” she said.
As president of the club, Rao takes a lot of pride in not only running the club functions and business, but also offering assistance and facilitating a family dynamic to the club.
“The main thing that I say is that we are a family and that regardless of anything that happens I will stand by them. With that said, I try to make it family like as much as possible because I know what it’s like for freshmen to be away from home,” she said.
Rao doesn’t use the term family lightly. She offers her services to her teammates at all times.
“I have an open-door policy, they all have my phone number and address and I hold team dinners at my apartment. I do it because I want them to know they do have another family outside of their original one,” she said.
The Tennis Club will compete in its next tournament at Florida State University Sept. 27.