ITA Player Profile: Lauren Herring, University of Georgia
Bulldog junior Lauren Herring started the 2013-2014 season ranked No 4 in the ITA Division I Women’s Rankings. The Greenville, N.C. native advanced to the singles semifinals at the 2013 Riviera/ITA All-American Championships to earn an automatic bid to the 2013 USTA/ITA National Indoor Championships, where she played in both singles and doubles. She traveled to France in the fall of 2013 to represent the United States on the 2013 Master'U BNP Paribas team. The ITA spoke to Herring during the 2014 ITA Division I National Women's Team Indoor Championship about how she got started in tennis and how she spends her off-court time.
How old were you when you first started playing tennis?
I was five years old. I have a twin brother so we’d go with my parents and play mixed doubles so that’s how I got started.
Does he still play?
No, he gave it up pretty fast
Is that because you beat him?
No, he always beat me 6-0. He was definitely the more talented player but he would get so frustrated. He was playing baseball and decided that was more his thing.
What is your earliest memory of playing the game?
Playing mixed doubles with my parents when I was 6 or 7. We’d place bets on it and the losing team would have to buy dinner that night. Usually my dad paid anyway!
Did you watch a lot of tennis growing up?
I was a huge Jennifer Capriati fan. I remember crying when she lost to Henin (in the 2003 US Open semifinals). I was obsessed with her and she was basically the last player I felt that way about. I watch but I haven’t have a strong favorite since Jennifer.
Who else did you look up to most in tennis growing up? Why?
Capriati was my favorite growing up, plus Kim Cljisters. I loved how she was off and on the court and how she played and competed. I respect Serena Williams - I think she’s the best that’s ever played. But I really love men’s tennis. I think they are unbelievable.
Federer, Nadal, Djokovic or Murray?
It depends on the day. I think they are all so good that it’s hard to root for one over the other. I also love Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gael Monfils.
What's your favorite shot on court?
My overhead. I love hitting overheads, although it’s not very useful as it’s the least common shot you’ll probably hit. I hit a ton of overheads with my coach growing up. He would have me hit buckets and buckets of overheads which is not very useful, but it’s my favorite shot now.
When I'm off the court you will find me...
You’ll find me watching TV in my room. Whenever we’re off the court we’re usually with our team, hanging out.
What’s your go-to show right now?
Scandal. It’s the best show on TV. I also just started watching The Following. I don’t recommend it. It’s amazing, but it’s way too much to handle!
Favorite karaoke song...
My team is super into karaoke. We’re always doing that, always singing. Right here we’re singing ‘I Love It’ by Icona Pop.
If you weren't spending your extra time in college playing tennis, what other extra- curricular would you be taking on?
I love sports so I think I’d be playing some kind of club team. I love soccer and sometimes wish I would have played it longer. I love going to the soccer games at Georgia. I also love anything out on the lake – water skiing and tubing.
What has been the highlight moment in college tennis so far?
It was actually a match that I wasn’t playing. We were playing Texas A&M this past year we needed to win that match in order to win the ACCs. I won my singles match so I was first off the court. It came down to our freshman who I was rooming with. That match was very special and Mia (King) did amazing.
What’s your favorite memory at ITA Team Indoors?
Beating Cal here last year to go the semifinals. The year before we lost to them in the quarterfinals, and obviously this year we lost to them in the quarterfinals. We always have good matches with Cal and it’s always fun competing against them.
What’s your favorite part of being a college tennis player?
I would tell juniors who were coming up and thinking about going to college that it’s helped me tremendously. Being on a team is more beneficial than you could even put into words. You learn leadership qualities you wouldn’t have unless you were on a team. You learn how to be a teammate. Tennis is such a selfish sport when you’re growing up in juniors - it’s all about you and how can you help yourself. When you go to college you learn how to help others before yourself.
The last time I screamed at the TV was...
Probably a Georgia football game – they can do that to you!
What’s your nickname?
Favorite song on your iPod right now?
I’m a big country music girl, so probably an Eric Church song.
What are you goals for this year?
We talk about goals a lot and obviously the first step is to win the ACCs. That’s always a goal of ours. We have really good competition: Alabama, Florida, Texas A&M. It’s a strong conference so to win that would be first, and obviously this year since the NCAAs are in Athens hopefully we can give the home crowd something to root for.