Feb. 18, 2009
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - In the third installment of "Net Exchanges," University of Tennessee women's tennis co-head coach Sonia Hahn-Patrick took a few minutes to sit down with UTLadyVols.com to answer some questions about the team's early success and her coaching philosophies. Currently in the midst of a 12-day layoff, the Lady Vols will return to action on Fri., Feb. 20, when they will put their 4-1 record on the line against No. 30 Indiana at 4 p.m. at the Goodfriend Tennis Center. The Big Orange will then host No. 63 Yale at Noon two days later.
TEN QUESTIONS WITH Sonia Hahn-Patrick
How do you feel about how the season has gone up to this point?
"So far, I've been pleased with the progress of the team. It's always important, especially during the early part of the season, to look at the big picture, and not focus on results."
How does your team match up against Indiana and Yale this weekend?
"I feel that we have had some hard-fought matches leading up to these matches which has better prepared us for the weekend. Both Indiana and Yale are well coached and are tough, but we are tough too, so it should make for some fun tennis to watch."
How do you think the 12-day layoff will affect the team in its match against Indiana on Friday?
"With a young team, part of training is also rest. It's good to have time to work on things and be prepared for the next match."
What are your expectations of the team for the rest of the season?
"We always have the goal of finishing stronger than what we started, but our players have goals of winning the SEC and making the Round of 16 in the NCAA Tournament."
How do you and Co-Head Coach Mike Patrick split up the various coaching responsibilities?
"That depends on the day...haha! We divide our responsibilities pretty equally, but he works with certain players more and vice versa because our coaching styles suit different players."
What are your favorite aspects of coaching?
"Seeing the girls work so hard to improve their lives both on and off the court on a day to day basis. Tennis is a life lesson and seeing them grow into adults is an amazing thing."
How would you describe your coaching philosophy?
"Our team know that my patience is low with mediocrity, so I believe that you must come to practice every day with the expectation to be better than the day before. If you focus on the here and now, the results will take care of themselves."
What is your most memorable match as a coach at UT?
"Several years ago, we had much adversity happen to our team and we had a squad of 5 people. With only 5 bodies, these girls had the heart of a thousand people. We beat University of Georgia down in the conference tournament when we weren't expected to have a shot. That tells a lot of the soul of that team."
What, in your opinion, are the essential attributes a player needs in order to be successful?
"As much as I tell our team that `talent' is a word we don't use, it is important to have a certain level of it. Tennis is a game with no time clock, so patience, resilience and the will to outlast your opponent are very important."
What is the best advice that you have ever received?
"My father always told me at a young age to dream big and never give up on your dreams."
GETTING TO KNOW Sonia Hahn-Patrick
Favorite place to eat in Knoxville: KAYA
Favorite holiday: 4th of July
Favorite tennis racquet: Wilson K Blade
Favorite movie: "Peaceful Warrior"
Favorite Quote: "You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
What motivates you? The fact that tennis has given me so many opportunities to help other people.
What is one thing about yourself that most people don't know? I absolutely, positively will not eat or drink any food or drink that has expired. Even if it's only a day old.
Who has been the most inspirational person to you in your tennis career and why? My father. As a child, he loved tennis and thought it would be the perfect game to teach life lessons.
What is your "must have" accessory? My chewing gum
What would you do with a million dollars? Donate it to the tennis program and also to the local animal shelters
If you had a theme song, what would it be? "Ain't No Mountain High Enough"
If you could have one superpower, what would it be? To give everyone the power of determination.
What was the last song you listened to? "The Best of Times" by Styx
If you could be a Disney character, which one would you be? Mickey Mouse