The emergence of Danielle Collins

Danielle Collins mid-swing during a tournament in Newport Beach
Benjamin Geller

Women in tennis earn the title of veterans when they are 27. As crazy as that sounds it's a reality. Danielle Collins graduated from the University of Virginia at the age of 22. She is 24 now, has won 2 singles NCAA national championship titles, and just got to the semifinals of the Miami Open. Her performance at the Miami Open was sparked by a career-best round of 16 finish at Indian Wells right before Miami. People may be wondering where all this success came from; the answer is college tennis.

The five main effects of college tennis on Danielle:

• College tennis operates in an environment where students are banging pots and screaming during matches. The noisy environment helps make anything that happens at a professional tennis match in front of a bigger crowd seem like nothing. This is critical to any player moving up to the next level. If a player can take this out of the equation, they will be successful even faster. Some players can also use the environment they're playing in to boost their spirits. As a tennis player, you have to control what you can. Danielle proves that if you do control everything you can, good things will come.

• Experience cannot be underestimated, and in this case, it was. Danielle won 2 national NCAA championships, and this is utterly ridiculous. Thousands of division one tennis players work to win one of these championships, but she won two. This experience shows her to be a winner and it was eventually going to transition to the pro level. The more experience at a high level the better, because it only gets harder for the players.

• It is always vital to get a college education just in case tennis doesn’t work out, and that’s precisely what Danielle did. She wants to take the LSAT and go into law after tennis. Most athletes, in general, have no backup plan, almost as if they were destined to play professional sports. If a backup plan is possible, it should be taken advantage of. This is something many male tennis players do too. For example, John Isner made sure to finish his studies at Georgia before he transitioned onto the professional circuit.

.• The teamwork and way in which every one of the teammates is forced to bond creates new relationships. This assists Danielle because in times of trouble she can think about why she played tennis in the first place. Many players use the fun aspect to their advantage. Nick Kyrgios is the perfect example of a male player that uses the fun element of tennis to fuel his passion for the game.

'• The college tennis competition showed Danielle how tough it was going to be when transitioning to the professional level. With this experience in a highly competitive field, she knows how to play against friends, rivals, and family. At the competitive level, many players get close in the locker room. This might make it weird for some players to play against their friends, but Danielle did this all the time in college. In the NCAA Championships, she had to play whoever was put in front of her. It might have been her cousin from another college or a close friend she practiced with.

Edited by Arvind Sriram


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