10 Questions with Men's Tennis Junior Javier Tori
April 7, 2009
SPARTANBURG, S.C. - Javier Tori recently reached new measures for the men's tennis team as he set the program record for career combined wins and career singles wins this past weekend against Stetson. Tori is 24-7 on the season overall in singles competition, boasting a 9-0 record in conference. He and partner, Renzo Airaldi, are 21-6 in doubles with an 8-1 record in conference competition, and a 9-1 record in their last 10 matches.
In his sophomore season in 2008, Tori achieved a 20-11 singles record and a 22-8 doubles record, becoming just one of 10 players to win 20 or more doubles matches in a season. He won five straight matches for the Spartans from March 21 to April 4.
Tori has been a crucial ingredient to the 2009 team's success. The Upstate men's tennis squad will play ETSU on Wednesday, April 8, for the Atlantic Sun Conference title. The ETSU Bucs are ranked 59th, having most recently beat Stetson, 5-2, and FGCU, 7-0. Upstate beat Stetson, 6-1, and FGCU, 5-2. Tori has helped lead the Spartans to a current 65th-place ranking.
The junior is double-majoring in finance and economics. He has been named to both the Atlantic Sun Conference All-Academic Team and the Peach Belt Conference Presidential Honor Roll.
Recently, Tori sat down with Sarah Hurd of upstatespartans.com and discussed his expectations and the challenges for Wednesday's meet.
On Saturday, you set the program record for singles wins in the team's 20th-straight win over Stetson, after having recently set the program's combined win records. What do these honors mean to you while you still have a year left to play?
To be honest, it's more important to me to see the team's 20th-straight win over Stetson because that's a new record that we're setting as a team. It's not only our record, but it represents the record for Coach De Marzo, who has been working hard with us every day in good and bad weather and through good and bad days, which means a lot to me. Setting the combined wins record feels really nice, but it's something that comes along with winning as a team, which is more important to me.
What do you credit the team's accomplishments to this season?
We've been working really hard since last September and we competed in a long pre-season. I think that the strong team unity and the good relationships we have as teammates both on and off the court helps our play. I also think Coach Alessandro De Marzo has been a major reason for our success because he has worked us hard and helped us improve upon all our faults. We also have two great assistant coaches in Sandy Franz, who knows us all well from playing with us, and Julio Peralta, both who have helped us with our changes and accomplishments.
You are double-majoring in finance and economics. What do you want to do after you graduate college?
When I graduate, I'd like to work in something consistent with my major for a few years and then go back to grad school. Ideally, I'd like to get a scholarship or help out as an assistant tennis coach while studying in graduate school.
What has been your most memorable experience at USC Upstate?
My most memorable experience was when the team qualified for Division-II Nationals after defeating Lander here. It was a great accomplishment and memory to celebrate here together with my teammates and then travel to Orlando for Nationals. Obviously, being nationally ranked has been memorable for me as well. Hopefully tomorrow will mark a new memorable experience if we beat ETSU for the conference championship.
Speaking of ETSU, what are your thoughts for tomorrow's championship match? What challenges do you expect?
I think it will be a really close match because we both have great teams and have had fabulous seasons. Last year was a completely different story when they beat us. This year, we have a good chance to beat them and everyone on the team knows and trusts that we can. Hopefully, we do everything right and we win.
What do you do to prepare before a match and to wind down after the match is over?
Preparing for a match starts the day before in getting a good dinner and good rest. The day of the match, I try to get a good breakfast, start thinking about the match and go to class. Then we'll usually get to the court about an hour and a half before and start warming up. I enjoy listening to music to get motivated. After the match ends, I usually jog and stretch, and start thinking about the next match.
Before coming to Upstate, you were ranked No. 1 in Peru in the under-18 age group, and finished third at the South American U-16 Championship, allowing you to reach the French European Tour semifinal. What was that experience like?
There are no words for that experience, especially when you're so young and fortunate to experience it. Being 14-16 years old and getting to that point was very exciting. It's totally different from college because you play individually. To be honest, I enjoy playing on a team more because you're with people and friends, and you share your victories with your team, not just with your coach which is how it is when you travel individually. It was a great experience, but I think being here is much more important for me right now.
What's your favorite part about the U.S.?
Everything here is really nice and I really like going to school in the U.S. I had the option to go to school for one year in Peru, but I've really enjoyed my time here, learning about a new culture and adapting and seeing new territory. Being able to travel with the team is great as well and I'm forming so many memories that I will never forget.
What other sports do you enjoy watching and playing?
I really enjoy watching and playing golf. A bunch of the guys on the team will go play golf at the nearby Creek, though we haven't had any free time lately. I like playing soccer too.
What are your plans for the summer?
Well, I hope to win the conference championships so I can be fully satisfied about the season and won't have any regrets. I plan to relax and go back to Peru and spend time with my family. I'll probably take a month off from tennis once the season ends when I go back home before I start preparing to return for my senior season.