A junior international tennis player from Metz, France, Nicolas Vinel (NV), proved that he can perform impressively wherever he goes. As a freshman at Virginia Commonwealth University, he was named the Colonial Athletic Association Freshman of the Year and led his team to win the CAA league championship with a 19-8 record. As a Bronco sophomore last season, he earned a 17-8 overall singles record with seven-match win streak and was 5-1 in West Coast Conference contests, which led Santa Clara to one of the program's best-ever seasons.
In SantaClaraBroncos.com (SCB) interview, Vinel describes his passion about tennis and Santa Clara University.
SCB: How and when did you start to play tennis? What is in tennis that makes you want to keep playing?
NV: I started playing tennis when I was seven years old. My dad was playing tennis and he loved tennis so he taught me how to play and I really liked it. It was our passion. I like the game, I like the challenges, and tennis is a sport where I can escape and be myself. When I'm on the court, I'm the only one to make decisions and I like that.
SCB: What made you decide to transfer from Virginia Commonwealth University to Santa Clara University? How are these two schools compared?
NV: I always wanted to come to California; it was my dream when I was young. When I decided to transfer, I automatically looked for colleges in California and Santa Clara was one of my first choices because it is a really good school and it is close to my favorite city, San Francisco. I really liked both schools but if I have to compare them, I will say that Santa Clara is better on everything; it's better academically, better in tennis since our last season and better weather.
SCB: How often do you visit France, where you were born, and what are some of the places or culture that you like about France?
NV: I go back to France twice a year: for Christmas and summer. I was born in Metz, which is two hours from Paris. I really love Paris, but my favorite place in France is the South of France (Nice, Cannes) because of the weather and the sea, and it is one of the most beautiful places in Europe. I really miss the food.The food is amazing and delicious in France and we have a lot of variety.
SCB: If you can play tennis with anyone and at wherever you want, who and where would you play? And why?
NV: I will say Anna Kournikova and Ana Ivanovic because they are beautiful women. I don't know where exactly but maybe on the beach for beach tennis.
SCB: You performed outstanding record last season with seven-match win streak and ended season winning four out of five singles contests. What are your goals for this season?
NV: My goals for this season are to win the conference or/and to be ranked in the top 40 in the nation to play for the first time in the NCAA Championship. I will try again to win as many matches as I can to help the team to reach these goals.