Sports

ATHLETE PROFILE: Mona Iyer

Following a week of wins for the Tartan women’s tennis team, Mona Iyer was named the University Athletic Association (UAA) women’s tennis athlete of the week. Iyer posted a perfect record over the past week playing at second singles and first doubles. Her wins came against Mercyhurst College (Pa.), Washington College (Md.), and Johns Hopkins University. Those three victories helped the Tartans to a perfect record against those three teams. This honor marks the fourth time already this season that Iyer has been named UAA athlete of the week. Recently the Tartan spoke with Iyer about her success on and off the court.

Tartan: When did you start playing tennis and why?
Iyer: I started playing when I was five years old. My whole family played so that is why I got into it. I just wanted to be like my older brother.

T: Did you always know that you wanted to play in college?
I: When I was younger I did, but as a senior in high school applying to colleges, I wanted to focus more on academics. So I decided to pick a school without talking to any coaches and just walk on the team at that school.

T: What is the hardest part about being a Carnegie Mellon student athlete? What’s the best?
I: The hardest part is leaving every weekend and getting behind on work. But I find that I am actually more organized while playing tennis because it forces me to manage my time well. Being a student athlete has also allowed me to meet lots of amazing people.

T: Do you have any good luck charms or superstitions?
I: I always listen to my iPod and I will not change into my tennis shoes until we start warming up. I also have to have one bottle of water and one Gatorade on the court with me all the time.

T: What do you do before a match?
I: I like to talk to my dad or my brother before matches because they can always calm me down if I’m nervous.

T: Where is your favorite place to compete?
I: Anywhere with a lot of sun and a lot of people.

T: What is your most meaningful accomplishment to date?
I: Earning All-American honors with my partner, Amy [Staloch].

T: To what do you attribute your success in tennis?
I: Ron Williams, my coach from home. He has taught me pretty much everything I know about tennis since I was five years old and continues to be one of my close friends.

T: How supportive is your family?
I: Very supportive — they come to every match they can take off work for and have always encouraged me to play as many sports as possible while growing up.

T: What is the best advice you’ve been given?
I: Be patient and develop the point. I have a tendency to just try to hit the ball as hard as I can and most of the time it doesn’t really work out for me. Being patient has always been my biggest challenge on the tennis court.

T: What do you do in your free time at Carnegie Mellon?
I: When I have some free time I like to just relax and eat good food.

T: Do you plan to continue your tennis career post-collegiately?
I: I can see myself being one of those women who play in leagues whenever they have free time. But I don’t see myself making an appearance at Wimbledon at any time.