Sports

ATHLETE PROFILE: Jon Spero

Over the course of the season, which has included almost 20 games, the Carnegie Mellon men’s tennis team has managed to lose only three. This streak has largely been due to the outstanding play of the team’s first-year Jon Spero. This week The Tartan sat down with Spero to talk about his season.

Tartan: When did you start playing tennis?
Spero: I started playing around with a racket when I was about four, and then started competing at all sorts of different clubs when I was 11.

T: Was tennis a part of your decision to come to Carnegie Mellon?
S: Definitely. I was recruited by a couple of other schools, both Division I and III, but in the end I really wanted to come here. We have such a competitive team that’s really on the rise, and have so many opportunities ahead of us with such a young team. Also the academics provided by Tepper’s business program really attracted me to the school.

T: As a first-year, how have you been handling athletics and academics?
S: In the fall it wasn’t bad at all; I really didn’t have any issues with the two. Since spring break though, really the past couple of weeks, it has gotten a little harder, but you work through it.

T: Do you have any pre-match superstitions or rituals?
S: I don’t have any rituals. I’ve had a couple superstitions, but I’ve mostly given up on them now. In high school I had one that if I lost a match, I would never play in that shirt again. I had good shirts and bad shirts. I also had one that during a match, in between points, I would never step on the lines. I don’t know the theory behind it, but that’s a big thing with lots of players.

T: Favorite place you’ve gotten to travel for tennis?
S: California for training over spring break was pretty nice, but my absolute favorite was Naples, Fla., where I went for a tournament in high school.

T: Any accomplishments you are particularly proud of?
S: In high school, I won WPIALs high school regionals my sophomore year. Also, in 2004, I got into this tournament that consisted of the best 192 players in the country, and won three matches there. Then earlier this fall I played really well at the ITA tournament.

T: Do you have a most memorable match?
S: The tournament I mentioned from 2004. It was the National Hardcore Championships; it was the tournament to get into, so making the cut and getting to go was such a big deal to me.

T: Do you have any goals?
S: For the season, I would really like to qualify for NCAAs as a team. Emory always wins, and getting in is really tough so we’ll have to be ranked really well. Then sometime in the next three years I have here at Carnegie Mellon, I’d like to qualify individually for the NCAA tournament. In singles, it’s the top 32 players in the country, so it’s a tough goal.