Athlete of the Week: Eric Yoo - Men's Tennis

By GREGORY MELICK | March 15, 2018

COURTESY OF HOPKINSSPORTS.COM Freshman tennis player Eric Yoo.

This past weekend, the men’s tennis team traveled to Swarthmore, Pa. to take on the Generals of Washington and Lee University. The Blue Jays entered the matchup ranked 18th in the country and the Generals ranked 31st.

The Jays were able to win two out of three doubles matchups. The freshman duo of Eric Yoo and Vishnu Joshi won 8-3 at second doubles. Yoo continued by winning 6-4, 6-4 at second singles, which is why he is The News-Letter’s Athlete of the Week.

With the help of his singles and doubles victories, the men’s tennis team was able to defeat the Generals by just one point, the final score of the matchup being 5-4. The team’s win improved their all-time record with the Generals to 8-3, with Hopkins having won the last seven of the series.

Yoo is off to a hot start this season, undefeated in 2018 in both singles and doubles. Yoo and Joshi have won all three of their matchups this year, including a win over a D-I team, Morgan State. Additionally, Yoo has won both of his matchups at second singles, against Salisbury University and the Generals.

Yoo began his collegiate career in the fall at the Navy Invitational, where he faced many tough opponents from both D-I and D-III programs. Though he only went 1-3 in that tournament, his one win was over a D-I player from Monmouth University. 

Yoo bounced back from his first tournament a week later, competing in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Southeast Regional. He opened that tournament with two wins to make it to the round of 16 before losing. 

Yoo sat down with the The News-Letter to talk about his success so far this year and his goals for the rest of the season.

The News-Letter: You are 3-0 in doubles with your partner Vishnu Joshi, as well as being 2-0 in singles. How have you been so successful right off the bat in your first year playing college tennis?

Eric Yoo: Vishnu carries me in doubles. For singles, I just remind myself that I am playing D-III sports. My results do not matter in the grand scheme of things, so I play with pretty much no pressure, which is why I have had such good results so far.

N-L: How did playing in the Navy Invitational and Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Southeast Regional in the fall help prepare you for this spring season?

EY: ITAs and Navy helped me with my confidence a bit. I took a long break from tennis before the college season started, and winning matches helped me feel like I could still compete with good players.

N-L: With so many young players on the team, how have the upperclassmen helped underclassmen on the team, yourself included?

EY: All the upperclassmen are super cool guys. The team has good chemistry, and it is because of the upperclassmen.

N-L: What have been the biggest differences between playing in high school and playing in college?

EY: In high school, I cared about my results because I was trying to get recruited by Harvard. In college, I don’t care about my results anymore, so I just play loose.

N-L: What are your personal goals for this season and beyond?

EY: For this season, I want to go undefeated for the sake of my ego. Beyond this year, I want to stay in shape.

N-L: What are the team’s goals for this season, having started out 2-1 with your only loss coming against the D-I Morgan State team by a final score of 5-4?

EY: I hope we win Nationals. Rings are cool.

N-L: What does the team need to do in order to achieve the goal of winning Nationals?

EY: Our toughest competitor in Conference is probably Swarthmore. We’ve won Conference for at least the past 10 years, but we are not going to take anything for granted. We are just going to take it one match at a time. Our singles line up isn’t totally set yet, so we need guys to keep improving their game and hopefully help contribute in the future.

N-L: What will be the biggest strengths and weaknesses for the team this year?

EY: Strengths: We have lots of depth and guys working to make the starting line up. Weaknesses: None. We’re winning nationals.

Catch Yoo defend his winning streak as he and the rest of the Blue Jays return to play on Friday, March 23. The team will head down to Fredericksburg, Va. to face off against Bates College in an exciting matchup.

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