Q & A with Senior Amanda McDowell

Jan. 10, 2010

Georgia Tech women’s tennis standout Amanda McDowell took time out of her schedule to discuss her final season on The Flats with RamblinWreck.com. The 2008 NCAA Singles Champion and her teammates will open the 2010 spring season next Monday, Jan. 18 when they host Chattanooga at the Bill Moore Tennis Center beginning at noon.

What are your goals for your final semester at Georgia Tech?
“I want to focus on enjoying every second of my last season. I am going to concentrate on staying healthy and giving myself the best possible chance of success.”

What are the team goals for this season?
“I would love to see us continue to develop an identity as a team throughout the season and to be playing our best tennis in April and May. I want to win back the ACC title and put ourselves in a position to win a team NCAA championship at the end of the season.”

How is your back and how will it affect you this season?
“My back is continuing to get better. I am trying to be patient and realize that it is a process. I am going to focus on what I can control and stay on top of what I need to do to keep my back healthy.”

As the lone senior on the roster, what do you see your role for this team as?
“I want to be a leader for the team and share my past experiences on what it takes to be successful with the other girls. “

The team is ranked No. 10 entering the 2010 spring season, what does the team need to do to finish higher in the rankings?
“I try not to focus too much on rankings, but I think if we continue to work hard every day and pay a high attention to details we will continue to improve. We are all very excited about this upcoming season, and we can’t wait to start competing against other teams and having our handwork pay off.”

As you know, being ranked as one of the top players in the nation is not easy. What advice are you giving to sophomore Irina Falconi as she enters the season ranked No. 1?
“Being at the top spot is always difficult because everyone is gunning for you. I would say that focusing on the big picture and trying to keep improving everyday will help take the focus off of being No. 1. She definitely deserves to be No. 1 and she got there for a reason, so I know she will be just fine.”

When you imagine your last home match (Sunday, April 11 vs. North Carolina), what do you see?
“It is crazy to think that in a few months I will be playing my last match at Georgia Tech. I hope that when that time comes I can look back and be proud at what I have accomplished over the years and enjoy the time I have left on the team.”

The team will face another tough schedule in 2010. What does the team need to do to be successful?
“We have always been fortunate to have one of the toughest schedules in the country. We are challenged in every single match which helps us to be one of the most mentally tough teams in the country every year. I know that our coaches will help us to be prepared for every match and I know that the hard work we have been putting in (on and off the court) since August will pay off this season.”

Which of your teammates do you expect to have a breakout season in 2010?
“I think our freshman, Elizabeth Kilborn, has improved so much since she first stepped foot on campus. She is a great ball striker and a powerful player with a lot of strengths in her game. I think that she will surprise many people this season.”

How has head coach Bryan Shelton shaped your career at Georgia Tech?
“He has taught me so much about the game and about my identity as a player. He has helped make me a tougher player and has been a great motivator. He has also helped me become a better person and I am so grateful to have had him as a coach for four years.”

You have had a lot of great moments at Georgia Tech, which one stands out the most?
“There are two standout moments for me. It would definitely be the team 2007 championship and my 2008 singles championship. However, sometimes the small moments that I have shared with my teammates (travel adventures, times when we are joking around in the locker room, team dinners, etc) are some of my favorite memories.”

What are your plans after you have used up your eligibility and graduate from Georgia Tech?
“I am planning on playing on the pro tour for at least two years after I graduate from Georgia Tech.”

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