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Junior Saige Roshkoff of Penn women's tennis. Credit: Nathaniel Sirlin

Junior Saige Roshkoff was one of the eight players Penn sent to play in the ITA Northeast Regional Championships at Columbia — a qualifier for the Super Regional, to be hosted by Army in late October. Ahead of the tournament, The Daily Pennsylvanian sat down with Roshkoff to ask her 15 questions about how she began her tennis career and her college experience at Penn.

1. How would you introduce yourself to people who don’t know you?

My name is Saige. I grew up in Haverford, Pa. I have a younger brother — he plays squash — and I have a cat named Noodles. I am a junior at the University of Pennsylvania studying economics, with a minor in computer science, and I’m super passionate about tennis. I started playing tennis when I was about three or four years old. My dad taught me how to play and it’s been a super big part of my life; I met so many great people through it.

2. When did you realize that you had a successful future in tennis? When did you start to take it a little more seriously?

I took it pretty seriously pretty early on. Even in elementary school, I’d wake up before school to play tennis with my dad and play again at night. I just loved being on the court. I started with the Orange Bowl tournaments and progressed to [some] pretty competitive [events] early on, even traveling for a national tournament [at] 10 years old. So it's been a pretty big part of my life for a while.

3. Have you ever had to overcome any obstacles in your tennis career?

Definitely injuries are an obstacle. I had a couple events sprinkled in, but I think coming back from injury, it teaches you how much you love the game and to push yourself even further, and you can do things off the court even when you can’t play. I had a little stress fracture, a little wrist injury, but I’m all good now. Tennis is a very mental game — but that’s what makes it fun to push through.

4. What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten from a coach?

To play every point like it’s your last, put it all out there for every single ball, every single shot, and to do your best day in and day out. Especially if you’re on a team. It’s not just do it for yourself, but do it for those around you. You’re competing for more than just yourself.

5. Comparing yourself as a player now to who you were in high school, how do you think you’ve changed or grown at Penn?

At Penn, I’ve definitely gained a lot of confidence. I guess growing up I was one to be definitely a more timid, shyer player, [I] never would say “Come on!” or anything like that. Now I feel like I’ve found my voice on the court, kind of found myself. I guess I’ve also grown as more of a leader on the team as well. My game in general definitely added more depth and thinking on the court. I feel like a lot of my growth has been the intangibles, like leadership development and confidence.

6. Are there any particular athletes or tennis players that you look up to?

I guess the player I have always admired [is] an old-time player, but it's Monica Seles. She has the two-handed forehand; I’ve always looked up to her.

7. How has tennis contributed to or changed your overall college experience?

I guess tennis is such a large part of my college experience because I love the game, but also because I love my teammates and the relationships I’ve formed through it. And it’s taught me a ton of discipline and waking up at 7:30 a.m., putting in hours of practice, and then going right to class afterwards. It teaches you time management and hard work. It’s great to have the privilege of competing as well. 

8. Along similar lines, is it difficult to balance the schedule of being on a Division I team sport and also having to deal with schoolwork?

I love to be busy. I love doing things all the time, and I guess it’s hard to manage, but I definitely organize my schedule. [I] have my priorities clear … but it’s challenging. I’m also super involved in the athletics community as a whole outside of just my team. I’m president of the [UPenn] Women’s Athletic Association, which is an amazing organization. I’ve met so many great other female athletes through it and we do a lot of great events to support female athletes on and off the field and to have people come to each other’s games and do fun events for the community.

9. Do you have any routines or superstitions surrounding your play? Are there any pre- or post-match traditions for the team?

Yes. My team, before every home match, would go to Spread [Bagelry] and get an avocado toast on a whole wheat bagel — it’s amazing. I also get a French vanilla coffee from Wawa. Post-match, a lot of times you’ll see us in the training room doing ice baths. We have an amazing trainer, Anthony [Braun], that helps us all a ton with injury prevention. I guess that's ingrained in our routine.

10. What is your favorite tennis memory, either in general or at Penn?

At Penn — it was my freshman year — we had a really strong match in the Ivy season against Harvard. There was so much energy, so much enthusiasm. I remember afterwards, we all rushed into the locker room and we’re squeezing around our water bottles, throwing things around. It was so much fun. I’ll always remember that.

11. What do you like to do when you do have free time that doesn’t involve work or tennis?

In my free time, I love hanging out with my friends. I’m really fortunate that I have friends on the team but also through school in general, and also other female athletes I’ve met mainly through WAA. I love hanging out with them. Ice cream is my favorite snack. You’ll find me at Kiwi [Yogurt] a lot of the time.

12. What is your favorite place to spend time on campus?

I love my room and I have a great roommate. My favorite study spot is the Perelman Center; there’s so much natural light. But I think I would say the tennis center is my favorite place. 

13. What is your go-to takeout place on campus for dinner?

I do a lot of cooking in my apartment, but if I were to [get] takeout, I like sushi, so I think I’d say Ochatto. 

14. What are your tennis goals for the future?

My tennis goal for the future is for my team to win Ivys this year. That’s definitely our main goal.

15. Is there anything else you'd like to add? 

Growing up I remember going to the Penn tennis matches with my dad. [So] to come here and play has been really meaningful and just really cool. So that also inspires me and motivates me to work hard every day.