How This Tennis Player Serves His Game to Emory University

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Sujay Sharma

Height: 5’9”

Eye color: Brown

Hair color: Black

Birthday: 4/6/2002

1. When did you start playing tennis?

I started when I was five years old. My brothers played recreationally and I used to watch them. That’s how I got interested—they got me a racket and I started playing.

2. What was your recruitment process like? What were your biggest struggles?

I sent my first e-mail to coaches right after my sophomore year—that summer between sophomore and junior year. A bunch of coaches watched me play that summer because I had a bunch of national events. I started taking unofficial visits spring semester of junior year and I kept in touch with everyone. Emory made their final decision this summer after junior year and they saw me play all the nationals. We kept talking and I finally took some official visits in September of my senior year. I committed on September 14. For me, [the biggest struggle] was junior year because I had both a full schedule and tennis.

3. Do you focus on singles or doubles? Are there any skills you want to improve on?

[Coaches] look at both. A lot of times, they take people who aren’t as good at singles but really good at doubles, because they want double wins, too. For me, I’ve always been more of a singles player, so that helped me. My gameplay is suited for college tennis, which a lot of coaches like[d] and wanted to develop. When I visited Emory, I saw one of the practices and it was a lot of fitness. It’s really hot down there—it’s like 100 degrees—and the coach [was] making us run sprints for two hours. It’s a lot of fitness, so I need to improve on that in order to keep up in college. I didn’t really have the time for that at Stuyvesant.

4. How was your experience on the Stuyvesant tennis team?

I liked the whole team atmosphere when it came to tennis—it’s very individual. I liked playing on the team because it’s more fun to have people support you and all that.

5. How do you deal with schoolwork and tennis? Any tips?

I didn’t really deal with it well because it was working smarter, not harder. For me, it was focusing on the subjects where I struggled more. I would be spending more time on physics than U.S. History. I also had to take three APs, which was very tough, but it was all subjects that I liked, so it was easier for me to do all that. It was about working smarter rather than putting [in] all the hours studying. I think I finessed pretty well. The academics do matter more. You’ve been practicing for so long, so you can afford to take the time to study because it’s junior year and your most important year. Get all the standardized stuff like the SAT done quickly. When I took it, it was in October or November, so I got it done pretty early. That helped me because I had time to focus on my actual schoolwork as a result.

6. What would be your advice for anyone who wants to be recruited for a college-level sport?

Communication is very important. I did not send any e-mails because I was lazy and it hurt me a little bit. Try to maintain communication with the coaches as much as you can. Try to show that you’re interested, and if you are at a showcase, try to talk to the coaches. One of their major things on top of your game is your personality and how you would fit on the team, so that’s very important—more important than you think.

7. What is your proudest memory and funniest memory?

I won a pretty big nationals competition when I was eleven years old. During high school, I also made finals of two pretty big nationals, so that was pretty fun. My funniest memory has to be when I played tennis in a hot dog costume on Halloween.

Drink of Choice: Chocolate milk

Favorite food: Buffalo chicken pizza

Motto to live by: Trust the process.

Fun fact: I have a bichon frise named Lia.