[MUSIC PLAYING] Philosopher Socrates
said, the secret of change is to focus all your energy,
not on fighting the old, but on building the new. Director of Tennis, Andres
Pedroso and head coach Sarah O’Leary understand
this maxim well. The two inherit of
Virginia tennis program steeped in tradition
rich in champions, but facing a new era. The two hope to build on
a well-established culture while unifying the Virginia
men’s and women’s tennis program in order to produce
champions both on the court and in life. Working with Sarah on
the culture has been– it’s been very easy, because we
live under the same moral code, the same values, and we
collaborate all the time and communicate on a daily
basis as to how we can– we can make sure our
players lives are in order, make sure that they’re happy,
make sure that their challenge in the right way and make
sure that they’re really enjoying their experience
and we’re preparing them for life at the same time. Number one, these
student athletes are here to get an education. Number two, they’re here
to maximize their abilities on the court. Number three, they’re here
to leave with no regrets. We’re tennis coaches
to these players, but I feel like we’re
huge mentors in their life on and off the court and
to be able to spend four years with young men and women
is an incredible opportunity to have an impact on them. Our job is to prepare them
for the rest of their life. I mean, a lot of them want
to play professional tennis, but a lot of them won’t
play professional tennis after school and it’s our job
to prepare them for that time and for their life and
to be mothers and fathers and husbands and wives
and I really look at this as that’s part of my job. When I first decided to
take the job here at UVA, a big reason was
because of what I felt like I could learn
from Brian Boland, what he’s done in the past,
from Andres, who was here for four
years as an assistant when they won their first
national championship. And I think it’s
amazing what they’ve been able to
accomplish tennis wise, but getting to
know the players, I see that the culture that
they’ve developed here is just unbelievable. We’ve had kind of a
brain trust a UVA tennis and I always feel two
is better than one and whenever you can work in
a group and work as a team, it’s always going
to be more powerful. And we’re always
trying to innovate and these conversations
that I have– that we have with
the women’s program is a big part of
that innovation. We’re always trying to think of
new things and keep it fresh. He loves to think
outside the box and do things differently
than any other program in the country and we’re both
so willing to share ideas with each other
that I think it’s going to be great for
the future of UVA tennis. Well, my number one goal
here as the head coach is to get these
guys ready for life. If we can help them get
that done in college– and I feel like that’s what
they college experience is a lot about– I feel like the tennis is
going to come from that. We’re going to start out doing
the volley volley at a pace that you guys can control. I want you guys to
push each other, OK? If you go easy on your teammate,
it’s not making him better. We return 80%. We’re making a ton of balls
when we’re both back, that’s our identity guys. Every volley you
should feel like you’re splitting on time, that you’re
able to step to that volley. Split, step, nice. I love those pick ups man. Sick, like that’s
the type of stuff. That’s filthy. If we do that and
we’ve got good energy, we’re going to maximize. While Virginia tennis may
be short on experience, it’s replete with leadership. Junior Aswin Lizen and
senior Cassie Mercer serve is quintessential examples
of the Cavalier culture. One of the great things
about Andres and Scott, and even our volunteer
assistant coaches [INAUDIBLE],, is that they’ve all been a part
of the program in the past, so they’ve learned of the values
that we had in this program before even I arrived. So we still talk a lot about
discipline and accountability and a lot of those other things
that Brian would often stress. In regards to those things,
nothing much has changed and we still stress
the same things. I think that tennis is
just really important to be comfortable in when
you’re out there playing and one of the best ways to
get into that frame of mind is to have good
culture to know what’s important outside
of just the results. Our team has gotten
so close and I think we’ve all really bought
into what the coaches are trying to build, which has just
made the day today enjoyable and I think help us improve. It’s really crazy to me
how after knowing somebody for such a short period of
time how I truly feel like– I feel like she loves me
and it makes it easier to go out there and
play knowing that. It’s almost like your parent
who that you could fail, you could play bad. It’s not going to change how
she feels about you as a person and I think that is really–
it’s nice and a freeing feeling to have on the court. The Virginia culture
has been it’s constant, but a new variable should
strengthen the Cavaliers, the unity of the men’s
and women’s programs. I think it’s just great to have
so many people on your side and fighting for you and
wanting what’s best for you. Sticking up for each other
and encouraging each other and working for each other
can only be better for us. The future is unknown
for the Cavaliers, but based on their foundation,
it’s invariably bright. In our first team meeting,
we watched a video on John Wooden and one thing he
talks about is making every day your masterpiece. In my mind, that’s not making
every single day perfect, but it means doing the very
best you can every single day. Don’t compare yourself
to other people, but just do the very best that
you can and I think that that’s a theme that we’re
going to continue with for the rest of
this year and the future. It’s going to continue
to grow and it’s going to continue to expand
and just get better and better. It’s a really vibrant
group and we’re really excited for the season. [MUSIC PLAYING]

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Dennis Veasley

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