A Q&A With MSU Tennis Player Zach White

Mississippi State men's freshman tennis player Zach White talks one-on-one with Gene's Page about being selected to the All-SEC freshman team as well as the MSU tennis team.

White, from Niagara Falls, Canada, is 11-7 at the No. 6 spot for State this season, including an impressive 8-3 in the SEC in his first season in the league. He clinched two matches for MSU this spring (SEC road wins at South Carolina & Auburn) and is finishing the season strong, having won eight of his last 11 contests for the Bulldogs. Prior to signing with State, he was a two-time winner of the under-18 Canadian Nationals in 2009. He also won the Ontario Provincial under-12, 14, 16 and 18 division and was the singles champion in 2009 Canada Junior Games. He was ranked as high as 70th in the world junior rankings.

How thrilling was it to make the All-SEC freshman team?
"It is an honor. It shows that my hard work and my training are paying off. It's a start. But I have my goals set even higher than that."

What are your goals?
"In college it is to be the best at my position that I can be, whatever position that I play, 6, 5, 2, whatever. I want to be the best at that position."

How much does it help you to practice against the other players on the MSU tennis team. Just about everyone of them earned some kind of SEC honors?
"For me, as a freshman, it is great. They have been here for three years and really know how to push me. If they try harder, then I will try harder. I'll get better and they'll get better."

What are some things you still need to improve on to become the player you want to be?
"For me, it's more of a mental game. Technically, it's not much. But if I can get my mental game down and become a Louis Cant, then I can become even better."

This is obviously your first year to play college ball. What was the adjustment like coming from high school and junior play to playing in college?
"I hadn't had to work as hard as I did. The first month was school all day, tennis all day, fitness all day. I wasn't used to that. Mainly it had been tennis and fitness with school kind of secondary during high school. Now you have to try as hard with school as you do with tennis. I was dying the first few days. It took me something like two to three months to get used to it. I'm fine now but it was tough."

What did those first few months teach you?
"It taught me to organize my time, be productive with my time."

MSU head tennis coach Per Nilsson talks about freshman Zach White:

Zach White 6-1 Fr. HS Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada - "Zach White, another freshman for us, has been playing at No. 6. He was 8-3 in the SEC. He's our most improved player. And he's one of the guys on our team who has the potential to really improve quick. We are excited about that."

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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