March 26, 2009
International Tennis On Display at Northwest
By Maggie Corwin '12
Many students at Northwest know firsthand moving to a new town and adjusting to a new environment is not always easy. Being far from home can be difficult, but imagine that home is in another country. This is exactly the situation for many Northwest tennis players including Felipe Gennari and Giovanni Auricchio of Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Veronica Castilla and Lina Gomez who hail from Spain.
There are different ways that international students come to be recruited by Northwest head tennis coach Mark Rosewell.
"The whole world plays tennis," said Rosewell, "so college tennis has a lot of international students. If you don't have them on your team you're probably at a disadvantage. We usually recruit by using the internet or through past friends or relatives that have played on our team."
Gennari, a junior, and Auricchio, a sophomore, were both recruited using agencies in Brazil that researched and found a selection of colleges for the men to choose from.
"Northwest was the best school and made the best offer," said Gennari. "That's why I came here."
Gomez was recommended to Rosewell by an older teammate who was friends with her back in Spain.
Coming to America was one of the only options for these four to play collegiate tennis.
"In my country, you cannot play tennis and study at the same time," said Castilla, "But I heard from friends that they came to America and were able to study and play at the same time so I came here."
An adjustment for the four was the introduction of doubles, in other words, playing with a teammate against another duo.
"Before I came here I just played singles and I didn't like doubles that much," said Gennari, "but this is my third year here and I have improved, so I like both about the same."
Auricchio prefers playing singles while both girls enjoy doubles.
"I'm more comfortable playing singles, but I think doubles is more fun," said Gomez.
Another adjustment for the athletes was the cultural change.
"The first difference I noticed was the language," said Auricchio. "Also the weather - it's really cold here. And the time is different. In America, people like you to be on time. In Brazil, being five minutes late isn't that big a deal."
"The food and the people are very different," said Gomez. "People here are very polite."
All four have goals for this tennis season.
"I would like to win the MIAA Tournament," said Castilla. "I think that's a good goal and a realistic one."
"My goal is to win the conference and hopefully go to nationals," said Gennari. "I think we have a chance." Auricchio and Gomez both want to play as well as they can and win every match.
Being far away from home can be hard and there are things that are missed. All four were interviewed and asked what they missed most about their country.
"My friends and family," said Gennari and Gomez.
"The food," said Castilla laughing. "Also my family, and the weather sometimes when it is cold."
"I miss the weather and the beach," said Auricchio. "I lived on the beach."
Though far from home, all four seemed to have adjusted to Northwest very well. An outsider can observe from the practice that American and international students all get along with little cultural barrier. They are connected through the common bond of tennis and are not concerned with each other's background.
After their collegiate days are through, the quartet would each like to stay in the United States for a few years, but ultimately anticipate returning home to their friends and families.
Gomez, Castilla and Gennari plan to attend graduate school at Northwest. Gomez, one of two seniors on the team, would like to travel to New York after receiving her MBA.
"I want to travel as much as possible and perhaps work in the U.S. for a few years before returning home," said Castilla.
Gennari and Auricchio each echoed thoughts of working in the United States before heading home.
In addition to these four, there are five other international tennis players currently on Northwest's tennis rosters representing Canada, India, South Africa and Portugal. Both men's and women's teams are currently undefeated in MIAA play. Since Gomez arrived to Northwest four years ago, the Bearcats are 23-2 in conference play. Northwest is 9-1 on the men's side since Gennari's freshman year of 2007.
Notes and Statistics:
Gomez is 55-28 in singles play and 60-20 in doubles for her career … Castilla is 36-25 in singles and 51-16 in doubles … Gennari is 36-18 in singles and 34-20 in doubles … Auricchio is 21-12 in singles and 17-8 in doubles … Gomez needs four more doubles wins to enter the top 10 for Northwest career doubles victories
For more information, please contact:
Phillip Dowden, Media Relations/Sports Information
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