A native of Quito, Ecuador, senior Fernando Armendaris traveled to America to follow his passion for playing tennis.
Cluster: How did you first get involved playing tennis?
Armendaris: Both of my parents are tennis players. When I was five years old they took me to a tennis academy in Ecuador. When I was twelve years old I really got into it and started being competitive.
C: How does tennis in America differ from Ecuador?
A: It is so different. I live in the mountains, so the ball travels faster. I grew up playing tennis on clay. I had to get used to the court when I came to America. In Ecuador we don’t really play much doubles, either.
C: How do you prepare for each match? Do you have a pre-game ritual?
A: Right before I play the match I pray and ask God that what I do, I do for His glory.
C: Having played tennis all four years, which seasons would you say have been your most productive?
A: My junior year, because my personal records were really good. Tennis is a team sport. So team-wise it is this year, because the talent we have on the team is unbelievable. We beat Stetson, which is something we haven’t done is six years. The A-Sun conference this year has been so competitive and so close. It is exciting because you never know what is going to happen.
C: How have you gotten better this season as opposed to the last seasons?
A: Doubles, double, doubles for sure, and volleys in general and doubles strategy.
C: What is one thing that Coach Woolfolk tells you that has stuck with you the most?
A: Just fight. He doesn’t get mad at us when we lose, but he expects us to fight and leave everything on the court. That reminds me that no matter what I do, I am always supposed to fight and play with my heart. It all comes down to who wants it more.
C: What are your plans after graduation?
A: Over the summer I will go back home to do a study abroad program. After that my future is uncertain. I would love to come back to America and work here for a while. In the long run, I would love to go home and take everything that I have learned and try to open NGOs and connect that to the Gospel. My heart is on the mission field and to spread the message of hope.
C: Who inspires you the most?
A: It is definitely Jesus. He is a servant and He doesn’t think of himself but how to serve others. Even though I fail all the time, He is my living example.
C: Who are some of your favorite professional tennis players?
A: Novak Djokovic. It’s funny because not that many people like him. I think his game style is simple and he tries really hard to win. He is a medium point between Federer and Nadal. I don’t think he has lost a season match. So it is definitely a good time to like Novak.