After an outstanding junior career in which he reached the 2006 US Open boys' doubles final, won the doubles title and reached the singles final at the 2008 Orange Bowl and was ranked in the top 20 in the ITF World Junior Rankings, Jarmere Jenkins is continuing his impressive play in college, where he is a freshman on the University of Virginia men's tennis team. Jenkins posted a 12-3 singles record and a 7-4 doubles record in the fall of 2009, and his results during his first semester include winning the ITA Atlantic Regional and the UVa Fall Invitational A2 singles championships. Jenkins, 19, is ranked 16th in singles in the NCAA Division I rankings. He recently took time from his busy schedule to answer some questions for USTA.com.
Virginia freshman Jarmere Jenkins
© UVA Media Relations
USTA.com: As one of the top-ranked juniors in the nation, you were recruited by a number of top programs. Why did you select Virginia?
Jarmere Jenkins: I chose to come to the University of Virginia because I felt it was the best of both worlds. I can compete at the highest collegiate level and gain a well-respected education at the same time.
USTA.com: You come from a big family and a tennis family, with a few of your brothers playing college tennis. How were the family tennis outings growing up?
Jarmere Jenkins: The outings were really fun for me. Usually we would all travel to watch my older brothers compete. I loved watching them play, but I never watched an entire match because I always found an empty court.
USTA.com: Did you ever think about going pro right from juniors, or did you always know you wanted to go to college? Was that a hard decision for you to make?
Jarmere Jenkins: Growing up, I always wanted to go the pro route. It was difficult for me to make the decision to come to college, but I felt like it was the best decision.
USTA.com: You joined the team this past fall. What were some of the biggest challenges in adjusting to college life and college tennis?
Jarmere Jenkins: The hardest challenges I encountered when I joined the team are distractions. College is a place where people discover themselves, and it’s so easy to get on the wrong path. I just remember why I came to college and focus and dedicate myself to my goals.
USTA.com: How did your teammates help you in this transition?
Jarmere Jenkins: Lucky for me I have a wonderful group of guys that I have tremendous respect for. They are all leaders, and they helped me the most by being there for me whenever I needed help, school or tennis related.
USTA.com: You played a few pro events as an amateur in the last year. How did that prepare you for college tennis? What are the biggest differences between pro tennis and college tennis?
Jarmere Jenkins: The few pro events that I played before college prepared me for situations I needed to become accustomed to. On the tour, you learn to compete while tired, disinterested, emotional and/or distracted, in some cases. In college, it’s no different, except you are a part of something more important than yourself, so it makes it a little easier.
USTA.com: Heading into the spring season, what are your goals for yourself and for your team?
Jarmere Jenkins: Heading into this spring season, I want to be able to walk away from it knowing I gave it my best shot as an individual and as a team. That’s all I have control over, really.
USTA.com: Virginia has an excellent academic reputation. What’s been your favorite class so far? Have you decided on a major or academic area of interest?
Jarmere Jenkins: My favorite class so far has been a first-year seminar taught by Professor Ed Burton, where I learned about the current economic crisis. I’m still searching for a major, but I’m sure I will decide after this semester.