Junior Venkat Iyer is undoubtedly a respected member of the men’s tennis team. Not only is he one of the Red’s strongest athletes — last season, he was the squad’s predominant No. 1 singles player — but his commitment to academics at Cornell is also commendable; The Red placed Iyer on the Ivy League’s Spring 2012 All-Ivy Academic team, an honor that recognizes only ten athletes (five male and five female) from each school.
Iyer is also ranked in the top 100 in the country by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association and seventh in the Northeast Region — a feat head coach Silviu Tanasoiu attests to Venkat’s intense desire to succeed.
“[Venkat is] constantly striving for excellence. He’s been the most consistent guy on our squad,” Tanasoiu said. “As far as his work ethic … nothing was able to take him away from the sport and from working, and maintaining a great fitness level as well. He embodies the epitome of what a student athlete should be — just a great work ethic, fantastic time management, and a great passion for the game of tennis.”
Iyer’s teammate, sophomore Kyle Berman, also praised Venkat’s commitment.
“I think he works really hard and acts as a role model to everyone on the team,” said Berman. “He puts in a lot of effort during every practice.”
Iyer stressed that above all his focus is centered upon one thing — recapturing the Ivy League Title that the Red won in 2011.
“It’s very simple, we want to win the Ivy Title … That’s our one and only goal,” Iyer said. “In terms of little goals, like staying healthy … it’s important, but it all really corresponds to winning that Ivy Title. We work our butts off every day to make sure that we’ll end up on top.”
“He’s set on some very high goals and he’s willing to do whatever it takes to achieve them,” confirmed Tanasoiu. “I feel privileged to have the opportunity to work with someone like him. There are very few guys of his caliber that you see in college tennis that have the mindset that he has … I feel very lucky to have him as part of our team and I’m sure his teammates feel the same.”
Iyer’s hardworking demeanor was evident when asked how the team stays match-ready despite not having an official competition for another two weeks — up next for the Red is the Columbia Invitational on Oct. 5.
“That’s an easy question to answer. We put in a lot of hours in the practice court,” Iyer said. “It’s beneficial to have those weekends where we spend a lot of time competing against each other … before truly competing on the tournament stage … When we play tournaments we can really come out totally fresh and ready to go.”
“Besides a lot of technical adjustments that we need to make … we’re trying to implement as many matches as possible,” added Tanasoiu. “We’ve played quite a few sets this past week and we’re expecting to play just as much, if not more, these upcoming two weeks. We play on a daily basis, and that’s one of the ways that we’ll try to keep the competitive spirit intact until we have an official competition.”
Original Author: Olivia Wittels