March 9, 2011
Edward Jones has settled into his role in the singles lineup comfortably over the past several weeks.
The sophomore from Carmarthen, Wales enters this weekend boasting a 21-10 overall record including a 10-2 mark in dual matches.
After winning his first two matches in SEC play, Jones and the Vols prepare to go on the road in the SEC for the first time this season.
In this week's Q&A, Jones discusses his toughness on the court, the reasons why he enjoys the Harry Potter series so much and fish pie.
Q: You're in the singles lineup this year and doing pretty well..
A: Yeah, I guess the more opportunities I get and the more match practice I get, the better I play--which is good.
Q: You're 10-2, which is really great. What does the mark mean to you?
A: It means a lot. We've played some tough matches already. We played some good dual matches before National Indoors--tough matches. Then we went to National Indoors and I played pretty well, got some wins there. We just started SEC season and I won both of my matches there. I'm feeling pretty good and pretty confident at the moment going into the rest of the season.
Q: You mentioned National Indoors. Tennys Sandgren got sick and so you moved up to the No. 5 spot in the lineup and you went 2-1 there. What was that like?
A: I didn't really think about it . Even if you're playing the five or the six, you're just trying to beat the guy opposite you. It's just a number next to your name, really. Sam (Winterbotham) was on the court with me, and we didn't make anything big out of it. One guy was out, so another guy comes in.
Q: So you didn't feel any pressure?
A: Yeah, there probably was a little bit of pressure. I actually lost my first match. I was a little bit nervous playing that match, I think. He was a tough opponent. After I got that out of the way, I played two really good matches, and I felt pretty confident from then on.
Q: Do you think that your experience from before is helping you win now?
A: I think so, yeah. Last year's experience--watching the other guys play singles while I was playing doubles--watching a whole year of university matches, it made me realize how important everything is to the team, the coaches and the university. You want to give back what they're giving you.
Q: Being from Wales, what do you miss about Wales?
A: This sounds silly but just the lifestyle--the family and friends. I miss waking up on a Saturday morning at home and strolling downstairs to get some breakfast and turning the TV on. It sounds pretty childish but home is what I miss really.
Q: I hear you and John-Patrick Smith get in fights about rugby. Is that right?
A: Friendly discussions (laughs). Now that Jarryd Chaplin (from Australia) is here as well, it sparks a few controversies.
Q: Is that a national thing?
A: Rugby and cricket--those are the big ones. England and Australia cricket is the big one. I follow English cricket because Welsh cricket isn't too good. Cricket is the big one.
Q: What are some of the American influences on your life? How have you changed since you've moved to America?
A: I guess I could say that with my tennis I've changed. Sam tries to make all of his players tough on court. He doesn't want any pushovers on his team. When I came in, I wasn't as tough as I am now. There are times in matches now where I feel really comfortable digging in and fighting deep. Times before I would boil out and not do those things.
Q: Have you brought anything from Wales to the team? Any influence there?
A: Mainly just lingo. It happens everyday. Tennys picks up on it a lot. I'll just be talking and then all of the sudden he'll just start laughing. It still happens. I've been here for a year and a half, and he still laughs at the way I say things and the words I use.
Q: You're quoted as saying your favorite meal is fish pie. What exactly is fish pie?
A: Fish pie basically is loads of fish--prawn, salmon, whatever you want--and then mashed potatoes, cheese and then more potatoes. Then it goes in the oven. My mum got it from my granny. It's just brilliant. I haven't had it since I've been over here. I absolutely love it.
Q: That sounds good, but have you considered a name change? Fish pie just doesn't sound appetizing.
A: (Laughs) . No, I haven't. It sounds great to me.
Q: Brainstorm something new. Fish pie sounds like it could be a hit. You're also a big movie fan. What are some of your favorite movies?
A: Happy Gilmore--Adam Sandler's pretty funny. Waterboy and everyone's favorite, The Hangover. I'm into those kinds of films--the ones that get you laughing. I don't want to be sitting there watching stuff like Saw with murder scenes. Those don't really get me.
Q: So you don't like the British movies like The King's Speech?
A: I once went to the movies with my mum and we watched Pride and Prejudice (laughs). That was for my mum, not me. I don't know why I didn't go watch something else.
Q: You also like the Harry Potter movies, right?
A: Yeah, yeah...
Q: You claim it's for your little sister, but we all know whom it's really for.
A: (Laughs). Yeah, both of my sisters are big into it as well. Both of them read the books. I haven't touched the books though. I'm not the biggest reader. I'll easily watch the films; I love the Harry Potter movies.
Q: Don't you think it's easier to read the books since there are only seven? There are eight movies. That's one more thing you have to keep up with.
A: I guess you could look at it that way. I just prefer to sit down in a comfy chair and not have to concentrate the whole time. And to be able to see Emma Watson is great (laughs).
Q: Good point. First SEC road trip to Kentucky this weekend is coming up. Jimmy John's is a staple of the road trips. What's your Jimmy John's sandwich?
A: All of last year it was the Big John, No.2. It's got roast beef, lettuce and tomato--all of that stuff. I pretty much stuck with that the whole time. I mixed and matched a little bit. Sometimes I'll feel a little hungrier and go for the one that's a little bigger--the Bootlegger. I know Amanda (the tennis SID) can't choose anything but her sandwich because she's so superstitious about eating the same thing. Jimmy John's is just brilliant. I love it.
Q: It's such an amazing place that I'm now asking you a question about a sandwich during an interview. With the first road trip coming up, what's your favorite road trip in the SEC?
A: I haven't gone to all the places yet, but my favorite from where I've been so far is Georgia. We didn't play them in SEC play, but we played them in the NCAA Championships there against their crowd and everything. That was pretty cool. I really like Kentucky. The university is pretty close to downtown, and from what I've seen Lexington is a cool place.
Q: Continuing on the first road trip theme, what advice would you give to Jarryd who is playing in his first SEC road trip?
A: Enjoy it. Even if he's not playing, you still need to concentrate on what's going on, but you have to enjoy it at the same time. He has to be ready--we all have to be ready--we all have to be ready for a good match. Jarryd might be in for a bit of a shock. Kentucky is a really good team. When we go on the road, we always have a good time. We enjoy going on the bus and everything.