UCLABruins.com Summer Spotlight - Yasmin Schnack

July 27, 2009

By Allison Taka, UCLABruins.com contributor

Senior Yasmin Schnack of the women's tennis team is featured in this week's UCLABruins.com Summer Spotlight. Schnack, a two-time All-American, helped lead UCLA to its first-ever NCAA women's tennis title in 2008. This past season, she earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors and led UCLA with 27 singles victories. Schnack has played in the NCAA singles draw in each of her three seasons and was a NCAA All-Tournament honoree in both her freshman and sophomore seasons.

Q: You are about to begin your senior season. What do you hope to accomplish in your last year?
A: My main goal is to be a great leader and set a good example for the incoming freshmen. My freshman year was really awesome because I had someone to look up to. Alex McGoodwin had a positive and hard-working attitude, which made me to strive to be better in everything I did. If I can set that kind of example for the incoming freshmen, I hope that I can help them. But at the same time, I am also pushing myself to be not only a better teammate but also a better tennis player.

Q: What are you doing to prepare?
A: I've never thought of myself as a natural born leader. I don't have a loud or outgoing personality, so I've been asking people for help and tips to become a great leader. I guess I've just been trying to do my homework on how to best help and lead the team.

Q: You were a part of the team that won the program's first NCAA championship two years ago. What was that whole experience like?
A: That was by far the best experience of my life so far, and I'm sure it will always be. There's nothing better than working your butt off with teammates that you love and care for and accomplishing this amazing goal. We came in that year expecting to win, but actually carrying that trophy in our hands just made it so real. It was awesome!

Q: What went through your mind when you realized you had just won an NCAA championship?
A: I guess the first thing that went through my mind was 'Aaahhh we won!' Haha. I was still playing my match when Riza (Zalameda), the player to clinch the championship, won. I just threw my racquet and sprinted over to her court, and we were all hugging each other and jumping up and down. Then the tears of joy started falling because, even though we knew we were going to win, the road to victory was not easy. We were definitely the hardest-working team, and there was nothing that was going to stop us from getting that championship.

Q: What are you up to this summer?
A: This summer I took a nice break after NCAA's. After my break, I started practicing and working out hard because I have three WTA tournaments. My goal after college is to go pro, and I thought it would be great to start a summer before just to get a ranking and to get the match experience. So this summer was basically just lots of practice and playing tournaments. I did go to Wimbledon and watched amazing tennis, and I am also going to the U.S. Open, so I'm surrounding myself with a lot of tennis! Wimbledon was really awesome. I played there twice as a junior, so I've been there before, but not just as a spectator. I was mainly there to watch and support my best friend and top U.S. player, Vania King, but I did watch a lot of great tennis. I watched a lot of American players, such as Alex Glatch, Mardy Fish, Andy Roddick, Venus and Serena Williams, but I also saw other players such Maria Sharapova, Roger Federer, and Andy Murray. Because of Vania, I was able to hang out with her in the 'pros and pro's guests area' haha so it was really cool because I was able to see where the pros ate, hung out, and all that good stuff. It was definitely a little intimidating, but at the same time it gave me inspiration to work really hard and hopefully be one of the players someday.

Q: Why did you choose to attend UCLA?
A: The main reason I chose to go to UCLA was for the academics. Also, I wanted to stay fairly close to home (I'm from Sacramento). Plus the girls on the team were awesome, so I knew I would get along with them really well. And another bonus is the beautiful campus and weather.

Q: What's the best part about being a Bruin?
A: The best part of being a Bruin ... hmm, I guess it would be that sense of pride you have to wear the UCLA colors. UCLA is such a worldwide known school, so people always come up to me and ask questions and tell me how great it is that I'm a Bruin.

Q: What do you plan to do after graduation?
A: After I graduate, I want to give the pro tour a couple of years and see how I do. I'll only be 22, and I can work the rest of my life, so my thinking is why not give it a shot and see how it goes?

Q: Who has influenced you the most in your life?
A: My dad has definitely been the biggest influence in my life. He's always been into sports, and he's the one that introduced me to tennis. He is also my most dedicated fan, so he has supported me through thick and thin.

Q: What advice would you give to someone who wants to play tennis in college?
A: If I could give advice it would be to stay positive and never give up. If you love tennis enough, you will keep trying no matter what is thrown your way. Also, anyone can improve at any age, so don't think that because you're this many years old that you won't be able to improve because so many girls come in, and through good coaching they excel and become top collegiate players. So, never give up!!

Quick Facts
Q: What is your favorite place on campus?
A: Ackerman or the Morgan Center

Q: Do you have any nicknames?
A: Just Yas

Q: If you didn't play tennis, you would be:
A: I have no idea! Haha hmm maybe a soccer player

Q: What is your favorite food?
A: Filipino food!

Q: After you leave UCLA, what would you like to be remembered as?
A: I would like to be remembered as someone who was nice, respectful and hardworking.

Q: What is one thing most people don't know about you?
A: I'm an adrenaline junkie.

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