Men’s tennis captain Tim Wu knows his game. He has been playing the sport competitively since he was six years old and playing in tournaments by age nine. This is the kind of experience that shows on game days. Wu, who led as co-captain during the Violets’ solid 10-7 season last year, will be back with his team in full swing on Feb. 28 when they will kick off the spring semester with a match against Drew College.
Question: How did you initially start playing tennis?
Answer: I basically tried out sports like baseball, basketball, soccer, and tennis, and I appeared more talented in tennis than any other sport. I have been playing for 14 years.
Q: When did you first know that you would be interested in playing college-level tennis?
A: I thought about playing college-level tennis all throughout high school. I always envisioned myself playing for a college team and continuing the competition that I enjoyed so much in high school.
Q: Was tennis a deciding factor when you applied for colleges?
A: Tennis was not a huge deciding factor in which schools to apply to for me. I wanted to continue playing tennis in college, but still valued academics above sports. I chose to apply to top academic schools and saw the opportunity to play tennis as a bonus. NYU fit that perfectly because I know the school is strong academically, and being a school with a tennis program within my tennis level, I knew that I could play here too.
Q: It must be difficult to excel in school and on the court. How has your commitment to the tennis team affected your social life?
A: The key for me in excelling in school and on the court is balance. I try not to get too consumed and focused on just one or the other because I know I would not be optimizing my performance if I took focus away from one. I have made many friends in class and, of course, on the tennis team. Because I see my tennis friends nearly everyday and we travel and stay in hotels together, I am quite close to all of them. I also joined Beta Alpha Psi in my sophomore year where I met a lot of Stern students who had similar interests [as] me. In addition, I joined the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, where I was able to meet student-athletes from all the other NYU sports teams. So I feel I have been able to expand my network and make friends apart from just the tennis team.
Q: What are your expectations for your team and for yourself as an athlete and as a student?
A: For this year, in terms of tennis, I expect our team to win all of our matches in the regular season. We only have a handful of very difficult teams that we have lost to in the past, and I am looking forward to some revenge. More importantly, I see us winning at least three rounds of [University Athletic Association conference games], which is our end-of-the-season tournament in Florida. We nearly took out the number two seed, Carnegie Mellon University, last year, that was supposedly much better than us since we were the seventh seed out of eight. Losing 5-4 in that match was disappointing, but it definitely motivated me and, I’m sure, the rest of my teammates to train harder and make sure they are ready for this year’s tournament. Some of us played a lot of tennis over the summer, and some of us even committed to strength and conditioning workouts over the summer to take our tennis to the next level.
As a student, I expect to continue balancing my schoolwork with tennis and to do well in my classes. I want to go beyond class work and focus on preparing myself professionally for a career.
Q: What do you plan to pursue after college?
A: I know for sure that I will never be able to play in the U.S. Open. That is way out of my league and I am definitely too old to pursue a professional career. But I do definitely want to keep tennis a large part of my life after college even though the formal team competition will end. I plan on working in finance out of college and in the future, to open up and run my own tennis academy. That has been a dream of mine since I was younger and I really want to make that happen.
A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, Oct. 4 print edition. Insia Zaidi is a contributing writer. Email her at [email protected]