Photo: Drake University Athletics
Sophomore Jean Erasmus has had an outstanding spring season so far. The Namibia native kicked it off by taking first place at the third singles spot at the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Individuals Tournament. Since then Erasmus has gone undefeated in singles play in dual matches.
Erasmus on his years playing tennis: “Since I was six, I started out with my older brother and then he gradually stopped, and I kept on playing. I really liked it, had a couple of good coaches. Then I decided to take tennis really seriously. In high school I played some ITFs (International Tennis Federation tournaments) to see how I would do in the international arena, but education was really important, so I decided on college tennis.”
How he made his way to Drake: “I was right in my finals at the time, and I got a phone call while I was studying. [Former head] coach [Jimmy] Borendame talked to me and told me everything and how it works in the United States. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, and it sounded like a really good option. I came and it was a very, very good decision.”
His first year of college tennis: “I played mostly [No.] 6 and 5 [in singles]. At the end of the season I started playing a couple of matches at the No. 4 spot. I ended at the MVC [tournament] playing No. 4.
How he improved: “In the offseason I tried to really get in shape, go to the gym every day. This semester I really focused on getting better each and every day, which is our motto for the team that [head] coach Evan [Austin] reminds us with every day. Doing that on a daily basis automatically puts you at an advantage each and every match.”
On his mental game: “That was one of my big goals that I was really trying to work on. The coach has a very big impact on me in that aspect and on us as a team.”
Favorite Tennis Memory: “Nine hours on the bus ride to Louisville this season or the Missouri Valley Conference [individuals] title this year. I played really hard for that title, and I really wanted it.”
Looking forward to most this season: “Our next opponents are Iowa and Minnesota, and they are both really good, and I’m looking forward to the competition. We are playing away for those, too.”
What do you like most about home in Africa: “The thing I miss most about Africa is the good food, like the steak. And my dogs definitely, Jenny and Nala.”
Favorite tennis player: “I like Marcos Baghdatis and Rafa Nadal.”
Favorite Drake professor: “I like Professor Swartwood.”