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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Coming up from down under

Playing team tennis never crossed freshman Janelle Cuthbertson’s mind. Miles away in Perth, Australia, Cuthbertson began searching on the Internet for the opportunity to receive an education and further her tennis career.
“The main reason I wanted to go to college was the opportunity to come further my tennis career, but at the same time, also get an education,” Cuthbertson said. “I had no idea what playing college tennis was all about, but the more I started looking into it the more excited I got about it.”
After looking into several schools, Cuthbertson narrowed the field to five universities and flew to America for two weeks to take official campus visits. Jet lagged and eager to find a team, Cuthbertson traveled to Auburn, Colorado, Indiana, Oklahoma and Texas A&M. After visiting the schools, Cuthbertson selected A&M and joined the Aggies in January.
“I had no idea what I was looking at to begin with, but eventually I got it down to five schools,” Cuthbertson said. “I really liked the small college town with a big school. As soon as I came here, I got a good vibe. I really liked it here and I knew that this is where I wanted to be.”
Cuthbertson uses an aggressive playing style that features a world class serve and backhand, said A&M Head Coach Bobby Kleinecke. The aggressive style Cuthbertson brings to the Aggies has found a position at the No. 1 doubles position in 2009.
“I have always had a really aggressive game style,” Cuthbertson said. “I like to serve and volley, I am comfortable at the net which really helps my doubles.”
The International Tennis Federation is very familiar with Cuthbertson’s doubles play that is now in the Aggie line-up. Cuthbertson was a three-time ITF doubles champion and the 2006 Wellington doubles champion while playing in Australia.
Having traveled through much of Australia by herself, Cuthbertson is working to make the adjustment from individual tennis to team tennis. Instead of working for individual goals, Cuthbertson is learning to incorporate her personal goals into team goals.
“This has been a huge adjustment coming here,” Cuthbertson said. “I traveled by myself for a few years in Australia to international tournaments, so going from being by myself, training only for myself to trying to help push the girls around me [is a challenge].”
Another difference Cuthbertson is trying to adjust to is the energy level of college tennis. Normally a quiet player who shows little emotion, Cuthbertson is learning how to get pumped up and bring the fans into the match.
“My personality is quite shy, so coming to college tennis you have to have lots of energy,” Cuthbertson said. “I don’t like to show a lot of emotion on the court, but I am trying to improve in that area. I need to show emotion and get involved with the crowd and try to get pumped up.”
In her first semester as an Aggie, Cuthbertson is making her presence known holding down the No. 1 doubles line with sophomore Stephanie Davidson. The duo has started slowly, winning one of their four Big 12 doubles matches. Cuthbertson and Davidson will get a chance to get back on track on March 27 when the Aggies travel to Lincoln, Neb. to face the Cornhuskers.
“I am still trying to adjust,” Cuthbertson said. “But [so far] I have enjoyed every minute of it.”

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