Freshman Jordan Eggleston’s Drake women’s tennis career is barely underway, but she’s already eyeing the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Championship. Eggleston sat down with The Times-Delphic to discuss her MVC aspirations, her pre-match rituals and her family’s tennis tradition.
Times-Delphic: When did you start playing tennis?
Jordan Eggleston: I was about six years old, and I started playing because I used to watch my sister and my brother play. We’ve always been a big tennis family. Our whole family has loved the sport, and when I used to watch my sister, I would get really jealous that she was so good. So, I started playing and I just ended up loving the sport.
TD: Who was your first coach?
JE: My first coach is still my coach. I’ve been with him for about, like, 12 years. His name is Gordon Zawtun, and he’s the head coach at Palm Valley (High School). He’s my mentor. I look up to him.
TD: What motivates you to continue playing tennis today?
JE: I love how competitive it is. I love being on the court and being able to compete against these top girls and seeing how well I can do.
TD: When did you know that collegiate tennis was something you wanted to pursue?
JE: Actually, after a year after I started, when I was six or seven (years old), I was just like, ‘These girls get all these pretty clothes, they get all the free stuff, they get to travel everywhere,’ so that’s when I really knew. And, in my past high school years, I really wanted to play college tennis because of my sister.
TD: Why did Drake catch your attention?
JE: I really liked Drake. It was a big academic school, but it was also a small school, only, 5,000 people. I really wanted a more small-type school than a big school, and they were really good at tennis. The girls were really nice when I came here on a recruiting trip. My favorite color is blue, so I was like, ‘Yeah!’ I was so excited.
TD: Do your brother and sister both play college tennis, too?
JE: My sister and brother both play college tennis. My sister plays at the University of New Mexico, and my brother plays at Colorado Mesa University.
TD: What are your goals this season?
JE: I’m just looking to get better. I’m playing pretty decent right now. I have a really strong doubles partner (junior Klavdija Rebol), which I’m fortunate for. She’s a really talented player, and I really love playing with her. I’m just looking to getting better and practicing and stepping up my game and making it more of competitive season for our team, just helping our team win our conference.
TD: What are your strengths as a player?
JE: My highlight is when I play either doubles or singles, the net is what I love. I love volleys. I have really fast reflexes, so I just love the net.
TD: What are you looking to improve, individually?
JE: Probably my mental game. It’s not as strong as I want it to be, but, like, not thinking about anything while I play or not let anything get in my head. I just need to be focused and just improve on that because that’s my weakest spot.
TD: Who are your favorite professional players?
JE: I don’t have a lot of favorite, favorites, but the ones I do like on the men’s side (are) Roger Federer and (Rafael) Nadal. On the women’s side, I really like the Williams sisters. They’re my favorite.
TD: Do you have any pre-match rituals?
JE: I usually do the same warm-up every time. I wear something lucky. Actually, before I go out, I have a picture of my best friend who died last year and so every time I go out, I have a picture in my locker, and I touch the picture and then I go off on the court and I do my warm-up. I listen to a lot of different songs that get me energized before a game.
TD: What’s the best thing about the Drake women’s tennis team?
JE: I think just being around all the girls. I love the team aspect. I’ve never liked individually playing tennis, but I love being on a team and just being able to hang out with them and watching us improve and winning and we’re going to do really well in our conference this year. I’m really looking forward to it.
TD: What are your expectations for conference this year?
JE: We want to win the title. We’re working really hard. Our doubles is improving. We have a lot of strong doubles teams. Our singles is improving every day, and we’re just looking forward to starting our season in the spring and seeing how we do.
TD: What’s your favorite memory with the team so far?
JE: Probably the last trip we traveled, or the only trip that we traveled. Last weekend, we went to Illinois State University, just the car ride there, the car ride back, the dinners were fun, cheering on our team. I’m like a mascot/cheerleader for our team because I never stop yelling. Basically, that whole trip was just a blast. I loved every part of it.
TD: What can fans expect from you on the court?
JE: I love having the matches be really interesting. I play really long, hard points, but everybody’s on their feet because they want you to win. I don’t know … I just love the energy I get from people when they cheer me on. I always do a ‘come on’ if I win the point, and they all scream. I just love being able to share that with people.