A Q&A With MSU Tennis Player James Chaudry

Mississippi State men's sophomore tennis player James Chaudry talks one-on-one with Gene's Page about his first year at MSU and things he's still working on to improve his overall game.

Attended the Ralph Allen School (in England) where he also competed in track and held district records in both the 200 and 400 meters. Came to MSU ranked among the top 100 in the world among the Junior ITF Rankings. Recorded multiple wins over top 10 players in the world in the Junior ITF Standings. Source: MSU Media Relations

Did you expect this team to do as well as it has?
"I had confidence in the team through practice in the fall and I saw a lot of improvement from the guys who were already on the team. And (head coach) Per (Nilsson) and (assistant coach) Matt (Hill) recruited really well. We have some strong players."

When you say they recruited well, that includes you as well. You became eligible to play this spring after sitting out last year and this fall.
"Yeah, the spring was like my fall. It was fun getting (back) into it. It was my first (college) matches. But I had confidence because the team around me was so good. There was good energy around me."

Once you started playing college tennis, how different was it compared to playing junior matches?
"It was a bit of a shock for me playing college tennis at first. Obviously, I hadn't played in awhile so just getting into the matches was a little bit of a struggle at first. What I noticed was that play started off really quick and teams would jump on you with their energy. And I was a slow starter before I came to college. I found that didn't help me very much over here. I played a little bit lower (court) on the team and got some confidence right away. If anything my biggest improvement had to be coming out very fired up straight on. They don't give you games at the beginning of the match, which you were able to do before."

You were able to play games against your opponent before actually playing the match prior to coming to college?
"Yeah, before college you sort of came out and you were able to see what your opponent could do, what they were doing well and what would work best for you. But that doesn't really happen in college."

What areas of your game do you still need to improve?
"For me personally, my serve could get a little bit better. It's been a little bit inconsistent this year. I've struggled in some matches. In some matches I have served really well but it's still been the consistency with the serve (that has hurt my game).

"I probably also need to a more aggressive on the court. I've quite passion at times and like to run around the back of the court and make the other guy play a lot of balls. But sometimes I need to step up a little bit more and be a little more attacking and use my forehand a little bit more on the court. That will get me to the next level."

Coach Nilsson is very high on you. You were among the top 100 juniors in the world and the number 1 junior in Great Britain. How did that come about?
"I had a good resume. I was lucky. At the junior level you can get away with things you can't quite get away with at the college level. It is definitely a step up from junior to college. But I did learn to fight my way through matches because at the top of the junior level it gets very tough. That prepared me pretty well for college tennis because it is a fight out there on the court."

And in your case it's not just in a fight in actual matches against other teams but also in practice due to the level of talent on this Mississippi State team. That's got to help you.
"That's why I have great confidence in this team. If I'm playing badly I can always rely on the team around me to pick me up. That's what great about this team. There are no weak spots. Even with the guys who don't play in the matches consistently, they are knocking on the door and they could take any one of our places at any time. We really have strong depth on our team."

MSU head tennis coach Per Nilsson talks about sophomore James Chaudry:

James Chaudry 6-0 So. SQ Southampton, England - "James has been playing the three court for us. He just became eligible in January, so this is his first semester to compete. He didn't have the fall to do anything. I think he was (6-4) at No. 3 for us in the SEC. For a first year (player), that is great. And he's just now starting to get comfortable, so we expect a lot of things from him in the future."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.

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