Q&A with Lindsey Pereira
Lindsey Pereira is a senior member of the Virginia women’s tennis team. VirginiaSports.com caught up with the Arlington, Texas native to discuss the success the highlights of her career as she approaches the final home matches of her career.
Question: This weekend is the final home matches for you, as a senior, what is going through your mind this week?
Pereira: Definitely nerves and anxiety, but a lot of excitement. It is going to be two tough matches, but I would rather have some tough matches where I am going to have to fight to win them than easy ones. It is going to be cool to play with a little overlap with the men’s team on Sunday. I know the men get a lot of people out, so to be able to share that crowd with them is awesome. I am really excited I just hope that I can play well and really finish strong.
Question: You mentioned the doubleheader with the men the last time that there was one at Snyder two years ago, you were playing Miami, who were sixth in the country, and beat them 4-3, with it coming down to you in the last match. Is that something you would like to replicate?
Pereira: I had never had a moment like that. It is probably my best college memory, so if that could happen again that would be absolutely amazing. A close match is always really fun beating Florida State (this season) was definitely up there. On a senior day, if that happened, that would be a dream come true.
Question: You have had a lot of key situations in your career where it’s been 33 and it’s come down to you: Miami, Alabama in the NCAA tournament; what has been the key for you to come through so many times in the clutch?
Pereira: I just like being in that situation. I like to know that I am out there, and I am able to convince myself I can win because I know that I deserve that match and can fight harder than the person that is across the net from me. So as long as I am mentally strong to really realize that, I love being that person pulling through and just having the crowd on my side and knowing that it is not only for me but also for my teammates. That always gives me that extra push and motivation.
Question: What sort of adjustment did you have to make this year in terms of leadership being the only senior on the team?
Pereira: Caroline [Hammond], myself and Amanda [Rales] all worked together last year, so Amanda and I have done a really good job this year, or, as good of a job as we can do. It is a bit easier in this situation, even though I am a senior, because we do not have any freshmen, so it helps out because everybody has already been through it all for at least a year.
Question: As you look back at your career, there has been quite a change since you first got here not only a different coach but also where the program is in terms of rankings and level of play. How do you characterize the four years that you have been here?
Pereira: My freshman year was a tough year, I was very unhappy with my tennis, but it really took a change when Mark [Guilbeau] and Troy [Porco] came in here. I had an amazing sophomore year. I definitely have had some bumps in the road since then but I feel like I am still moving uphill and even though it is the last matches, I do not intend for it to be the last. I expect at least one or two in the ACC’s and definitely some in the NCAAs, so I just want to keep moving forward. I feel like that is what I have been doing since I came in here.
Question: As you look back, you mentioned some of the wins, but both on and off the court, what sticks out in your mind when you think of your tennis career at UVa?
Pereira: The clutch situations for sure, like the Miami match or the Alabama match. We were not expected to do well my sophomore year with the team we had and new coaches, and we surprised a lot of teams. It was just really fun to be able to do that. Last year, NCAAs was not looking too good, but we ended up playing our best tennis at the very end of the season, beating VCU in the round of 64 and then going into the round of 32 against Clemson. I am ready for a little bit more of that we may be on the bubble in terms of NCAAs but I think that again we will be able to pull through as long as we stick together, stay strong, and really focus individually on what we need to do.