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NCAA Tennis Advance/Profile

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by fl2010, Apr 15, 2007.

  1. fl2010

    fl2010 New Member

    I wrote this piece to profile the lone senior on the women's tennis team as they approached senior day. There was a separate piece that ran to preview the game, so that's why I tried to stay away from that kind of info in this story. Comments and thoughts are always appreciated. Thanks in advance.
    Edit: This story ran in normal paragraphs, its just they break it up line-by-line when they post it online -- not my choice.
    It's only fitting that on the same day that the Orange and Blue Game dawns a new beginning for the UF football team, the women's tennis team will watch an era of its own draw to a close.

    Saturday is Senior Day at Ring Tennis Complex and the always-smiling Nina Suvak, the team's lone senior, says she's ready to go.

    But it won't be easy.

    "It's bittersweet," she said. "I was waiting for this Senior Day. I am kind of ready to be done, but at the same time I'm not."

    This weekend has been the light at the end of the tunnel for Suvak.

    "I had an awful week with school," she said. "I had so much stuff to do. But I'm excited about being done with that and getting ready for Senior Day."

    At Monday morning's press conference, UF coach Roland Thornqvist couldn't help but sing her praises to the fullest extent.

    "Nina is the ultimate team player," Thornqvist said. "She will do anything for the team.

    "I can play her at any position at any time, and she will never complain."

    Thornqvist has done just that this season, giving her time at every singles position except No. 1.

    Ranked No. 94, Suvak has put together a 16-2 record this spring, the highest winning percentage on the team.

    When freshman Megan Alexander was forced to sit due to back injuries, Suvak filled in at the No. 2 position for the first time in her career, posting a 4-0 record.

    The senior also clinched the Gators' 4-3 win against then-No. 8 North Carolina on Jan. 28 with a three-set, come-from-behind victory.

    Suvak's clutch composure isn't lost on her coach.

    "She always comes out and plays her heart out," Thornqvist said. "You can tell that -- when the team match is on the line, she rises to the top. She's been able to be very successful playing at No. 2 and No. 3, all-time highs for her in the lineup."

    Thornqvist has shuffled his doubles lineups recently as well.

    Suvak and partner Whitney Benik, the longest-standing doubles pairing, had played on court one until April 30 against Auburn, when they were moved to the No. 2 slot.

    The senior took it in stride, and Suvak and Benik have won all three matches since the move.

    "We never really played bad," Suvak said. "We couldn't pull it together on that No. 1 spot because the opponents were obviously better.

    "We got a couple of wins in a row, which will definitely help with confidence again."

    Thornqvist said it's rare for an athlete to have her best year as a senior, but that's just what Suvak has done.

    She hasn't just burst onto the scene this year, though.

    One more singles victory will give Suvak 100 for her career, making her only the sixth player in school history to surpass the century mark in both singles and doubles wins.

    "(That) is just a remarkable achievement looking at the history of this program and all the great players that have come through this program," Thornqvist said. "We wouldn't be where we are right now in the season without her play."

    The ever-cheerful Suvak even has her own trademark quote for post-victory interviews: "It was a good day for the Gators."

    "It's just been a privilege to have coached her for four years," Thornqvist said. "We're certainly going to miss her."

    If Suvak has anything to say about it, however, it won't be before a few more good days for the Gators.
  2. Problem areas in italics, my comments in bold.

    As a general observation, I’m not sure that this girl was deserving of the profile. She’s, at best, the third best singles player on a mediocre tennis team. She has nothing interesting to say and doesn’t appear to do anything interesting either (other than spout the same cliché, Disney quote after every match apparently). Just because she the only senior doesn’t mean she deserves the ink.
  3. fl2010

    fl2010 New Member

    I appreciate the comments, especially the line-by-line stuff.

    As for your observations at the end, I simply didn't do my job very well then. She's a key component (best player? no) of the No. 3-ranked team, which will fight for the NCAA title in a month or so. I'm curious if my writing made you think the team was mediocre?

    But again, thanks for the feedback.
  4. After re-reading, I'll take the blame for the mediocre assumption. There is nothing in the story that talks about the team's position (if it was a stand-alone piece that would be a mistake, but you indicated that this ran with a match-day preview).

    I guess I would have liked to have seen a few more reasons why this girl was deserving of a profile. What you have here is a bunch of cliche coach-speak, which tells me nothing.

    All that said, the piece is functional. The average reader wouldn't see anything wrong with it. Except maybe that lead. Football gets enough ink already, I would imagine.
  5. dawgpounddiehard

    dawgpounddiehard Active Member


    Watch out for things called "no-shit" quotes.

    They seem to appear in this story quite often.

    For example, when a coach says "we will miss her"... well no shit coach? These are all over the place... but I find you can get good quotes when you follow a no-shit answer with (in this example), why?
  6. fl2010

    fl2010 New Member

    Point well noted. Interviewing is definitely one of the biggest things I have to work on, keep pushing those followup questions to get past the cliche quotes.
  7. dawgpounddiehard

    dawgpounddiehard Active Member

    Usually you'll find something behind those cliche quotes... as it's being said over in the journalism board... pick the right time and "why" is one of the best questions you can ask.
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