Athlete Profile: Cze-Ja Tam ready to grind out victories
Cze-Ja Tam is a long-tenured athlete; she has been playing tennis for 10 years, and is beginning her final season on the women’s tennis team this year.
She will graduate from Carnegie Mellon this spring with a degree in psychology. Planning to continue her education in graduate school, Tam hopes to one day fulfill her goal of becoming a pediatric nurse practitioner.
With this being Tam’s last season, she has some specific goals that she wants the team to reach while she is still here. “I hope our team will be able to win ITA indoors, UAAs, and make at least the semifinals of NCAAs,” Tam said.
During her first year at Carnegie Mellon, Tam and the women’s tennis team won the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) indoor nationals. “Winning ITA indoor nationals has been my proudest moment on the team,” Tam said.
She boasts a record of 58–18 for her career in singles matches and 41–16 in doubles matches.
“She is a consistent player who the team can always rely on to play well,” said senior teammate Laura Chen.
Her success on the court has led her to several championship competitions, where head coach Andrew Girard says she plays exceptionally.
“On the court, Cze-Ja has racked up a lot of wins for us over her three-plus years. She has had some clutch victories for us, probably most notably her three-set win to clinch the match for our team against top-seed Denison in the ITA Indoor National Championships her freshman year,” referring to her 7–5, 6–3 win in a singles match against Emory University.
Looking back over the past three and a half years, Tam has had many memorable moments on the team. One of her funniest moments included a disaster at practice. “I had to make a trip to the emergency room after practice,” Tam said, who had accidentally hit herself on an overhead followthrough.
Moments like these remind Tam of what she enjoys most about the tennis team: “Having teammates who are always there for me.”
“She is very talented and makes everyone feel like an important part of the team. As a captain, she is really committed to team unity,” said third-year architecture major and teammate Christina Brant.
Tam loves traveling with the team and bonding with her teammates on the road. “The time to chat [with the team], and sing songs that coach really dislikes are among my favorites,” Tam said. She also enjoys eating. “[I eat] everything. I will eat anything and everything,” she said.
Tam has found being a Tartan to be rewarding, on and off the tennis court. “Being able to both receive a quality education and having a strong body of dedicated athletes is amazing,” Tam said.
Tam mentioned many things she will miss about the team after graduation. “Team events, coach’s amazing speeches, pigging out with the team will be missed,” Tam said.