Thursday, March 1, 2007

An Interview: Leslie Dunham

Adding local color to anything is something I'm always a fan of. Seattle isn't necessarily a tennis mecca, but there is a healthy tennis culture that exists in the Pacific Northwest.

I got the opportunity to sit down with Leslie Dunham, a tennis player and former captain of the tennis team at Seattle University for a conversation about her experience as a tennis player.

NM: When did you start playing tennis?
LD: "I started playing when I was in the 5th grade. Me, my twin sister and younger brother got into lessons at the local club with the encouragement of our dad. He really wanted us to learn the game, it was his dream to have kids that he could one day play tennis with. I didn't take it seriously at that point, I'd hit forehands and spin in circles giggling, but I really liked it."

NM: But you stuck with it, right?
LD: "Yeah. We started playing USTA tournaments a year later. In my first tournament, I lost 6-0 6-0. I was so embarrassed! After that our family really became a part of the tennis community in Eugene and all of Oregon really. I won my first tournament two years later in Vancouver (Wash.), it was so exciting for me."

NM: Tell me about one the funnest or wackiest memories you have of something that happened on court growing up?
LD: "My junior year of high school we were playing in the semifinals of the district tournament against a team that we knew that we could beat. Early in the first set I was up at the net and got hit in the eye with the ball. It didn't hurt that bad, but my contact fell out! We searched all over the court but couldn't find it anywhere. My dad raced home to find a replacement contact for me, but meanwhile we had to keep playing. We lost the first set, but my dad got there right in between sets. I put the contact in only to realize it was the wrong prescription! I played the rest of the match trying to adjust my eyes, my depth perception was terrible. We lost that match, but it was a pretty funny experience."

NM: Did you have any tennis heroes growing up?
LD: "I loved the Williams sisters. Serena is my favorite though because she's younger. I'm younger by a few minutes - but I'm still the little sister."

NM: If you could watch any two players in history play a match on any court, who would it be and where would they play?
LD: "I think Centre Court at Wimbledon because of all of its history - the tradition of the game is all there. I think I would want to watch Roddick because I love his serve...and I would want to watch him play Jon McEnroe. I'd like to see Roddick's reaction to someone yelling at him! It'd be hilarious."

No comments: