SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara men's tennis team is ranked No. 43 in the national polls, in part thanks to the 9-0 singles play of Tom Pham (TP). SantaClaraBroncos.com (SCB) recently caught up with Pham to talk about the team's success, as well as his, and what he does before each match.
SCB: The Bronco men's tennis team had a great jump-start this season with a 7-2 record that led the team to climb up to No. 43 in the nation. Is the team happy with this success?
TP: Our team is very happy with our results so far. This is the best start we've had since I've been here and this is probably one of the best starts ever.
SCB: You have yet to lose a match in singles play, even against opponents from highly ranked teams. What is the secret behind your 11-0 record this spring?
TP: I wouldn't say that there is a secret. A part of my success is that every time I'm on the court, I give everything I have; 120 percent, if not more. I've had times where my body wouldn't move once I got off the court. The main part of my undefeated record is that my team has always supported me through every single match. Every match that I win is not an individual win. It's a team win.
SCB: Many athletes have their unique things that they do before the match. Some players kiss the court or ground and others listen to a specific song before they play. Do you do anything in particular before you play?
TP: I'm one of those players who has to get up early before every match. I have to be up by 7:00. Music-wise, I have to listen to "Dive Right In" by Story of the Year.
SCB: Most people think tennis is an individual sport. What do you think about this statement and how do your teammates help you win a singles match?
TP: I would agree, for the most part, that tennis is an individual sport. It is the only sport where one can say that he is truly alone on the court. You have no teammates (with the exception of doubles) and coaching is not allowed during the match. However, this is false in college tennis. During every college match, your teammates are always supporting you. College tennis adds a team aspect of the game that is rarely seen elsewhere.
SCB: In a very intense and close match, the court tends to become quiet. Do you like it better when the fans are cheering for you or do you enjoy the quiet so that you can concentrate on the match?
TP: Too much quiet gives a weird feeling. It's not a team sport without some noise. But too much noise can distract me during a match. I'd like to have some cheering while I'm on the court, but nothing extreme.
SCB: Is there any match that you are particularly looking forward to?
TP: Every match is a match to look forward to. Every match is a challenge. I always try not to look too far ahead in our schedule so I can focus on the match in front of us.
SCB: What are your personal and team goals this season?
TP: Our team goal is to win the WCC tournament and make it to the NCAA tournament. It won't be easy, but we have the team to accomplish this. My personal goal is to keep my streak going. Half of my team is beginning to pester me about having a perfect singles record this year, but we'll see what happens.
SCB: Any comments for the fans?
TP: Thanks for all of your support.