General of the Week: Brooke Donnelly

Brooke Donnelly, ‘17, has been on fire to start the tennis team’s spring season. Through her first dozen matches, she has a singles record of 11-1 and a 9-3 doubles record alongside Tessa Hill, ‘19. She was a singles All-American last season and has been named to the All-ODAC team in every season as a General. This week, Donnelly sat down with the Phi to talk about her career as a Gennie, both on and off the court.

Photos courtesy of W&L Sports Information

Photo courtesy of W&L Sports Information

Peter Rathmell

Phi: What has driven your success so far this year?

BD: Part of it is just being an upperclassmen this year. I’ve had a lot of support from the team and we’re really close as a team. I’m not nervous and we’re having fun.

Phi: What’s the difference between being an underclassmen and an upperclassmen?

BD: The biggest thing has just been nerves. I’ve had a lot of good match experiences to build off of and learn from, so I feel a lot more comfortable knowing that I can handle bigger matches.

Phi: Do you have any prematch superstitions?

BD: I’m pretty strict about how I get ready for matches. I always have the same routine; when I go to the trainer, when I heat my shoulder, when I get taped. So I don’t really like to mess up that, but for the most part I just try to stay relaxed and not think about things at all.

Phi: How have you improved as a player?

BD: I have gotten more comfortable, more relaxed. In singles I have gotten more aggressive, and then I really learned a lot about doubles. I never really knew anything about doubles until I got to college so I have learned a lot more about doubles strategy.

Phi: What is the difference between singles and doubles strategy?

BD: For me, just because of my game style, I kind of have to change a lot of things that I do. It’s just harder because you have a lot less room to work with so you have to be a lot more conscious about your shot selection and really like mixing things up and having some variation.

Phi: Do you prefer singles or doubles?

BD: Secretly I prefer singles.

Phi: What are your goals as a Gennie?

BD: Our goals for the season are to win ODACs again. We want to make it at least to the elite eight for the NCAA tournament so we want to at least win our region. We want to finish in the top 10 in the country. On an individual level, since I have already been to nationals for singles I would really like to go for doubles.

Phi: What brought you to W&L?

BD: The tennis team was a big factor. I first wanted to go to a big school so when I first visited I found it was nice to go to a small school and play a sport and you do a lot of different things, that was a big pull for me. And then I also just liked Virginia and the area.

Phi: How do you balance tennis and school since tennis is essentially a year round sport?

BD: Tennis is one of those sports that is pretty much always year-round, even in juniors. It wasn’t a huge transition because even when we have our offseasons we are pretty much playing almost every day, so it hasn’t really been a huge deal. I actually think I do better balancing things when I am on a tough schedule with tennis, I’m more organized and efficient.

Phi: What has changed about the program?

BD: I am the only person in my grade so for me when I started there were a lot of upperclassmen and now we have a young team, more than half of the team is freshmen now, so it’s changed a lot for me from freshman year to now. Very different teams but both a lot of fun.

Phi: What are your favorite hobbies?

BD: I like to fly fish, I like to run, hike, anything outside.