This week the top-ranked Virginia men’s tennis team travels to Athens, Ga. for the 2010 NCAA Tennis Championships. The Cavaliers meet ACC rival Duke at noon on Friday in the round of 16. VirginiaSports.com caught up with first-year Jarmere Jenkins, a native of Georgia, to preview the tournament.
Question: Last weekend you got your first taste of the NCAA Tournament with the regional. You picked up a pair of wins, clinching both victories. How was that experience for you?
Jenkins: It was good. It was nice to be able to start at home in front of our fans. It is special for me as a freshman to clinch the win in my first two NCAA Tournament matches. Now I am ready to carry that momentum down to Athens.
Question: This will obviously be your first experience at the NCAA Championships. What are you expecting once you start playing in Athens?
Jenkins: I know it is not going to be easy by any means. It is a big stage and you are playing in front of a big crowd. You are also dealing with the expectations of wanting to get the team title, because we have come close for so many years. What I am focusing on is going out there and fighting hard every point and doing well for the team.
Question: Can you learn anything from the experience of winning the ITA National Team Indoor title in February to help you this week?
Jenkins: Not too much. Just like we are a different team now than we were then, so is everyone else. Everyone has gotten better since February.
Question: For you, how special is this opportunity to play for a NCAA Championship in your home state in front of so many friends and family?
Jenkins: It is an unbelievable opportunity, especially where family is the No. 1 priority in my life. To be able to have them all come this week and support me is special. In addition to them, I know I will have my teammates, coaches, support staff and all the other great Cavalier fans there to support us. Having that many people pulling for you helps a lot.
Question: You were one of just a few freshmen selected for the NCAA Singles Championship next week in Athens. What does that accomplishment mean to you and where you stand so early in your collegiate career?
Jenkins: It means a lot. It means that I am doing the right things and I am on the right path. I am going to continue to work hard and hopefully that will lead me to more great things in the future.