Facing off against her teammate, sophomore tennis player Tyffaine Pais was victorious becoming the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Midwest Regional Champion after defeating fellow Greyhound freshman tennis player Benedetta Sensi, according to UIndy Athletics. Pais said the tournament started rough but after taking it match by match, she was able to focus on what was in front of her.
“If you’re just trying to realize ‘Oh my, right now I’m gonna play in the quarterfinals, then I’m gonna play the finals in the finals,’” Pais said. “I think that you’re putting too much pressure. So especially for me, I was not really thinking, I was just, ‘Okay, I’m just playing a girl with a racquet like me.’”
This was not the first time Pais played in the ITA Regional. Pais said she competed in the competition the previous year. Pais competed in her first tournament as a Greyhound having transferred from Northwest Missouri State University and being from France originally, according to UIndy Athletics. Likewise, Sensi, who is from Italy, competed for the first time as a Hound which resulted in battling against her teammate in the final.
“I was happy; I was in final and [Pais] was my opponent,” Sensi said. “So, I knew that one of the two of us from UIndy would win the tournament… We didn’t fight, [and] it was calm, so it was good.”
Stepping onto the court to play for the first time in the United States, Sensi said she felt a lot of emotions. She said she is proud to be on this team.
“It was emotional because I [had] never been in the USA, [this] is my first year…,” Sensi said. “Everything is new, it was my first match as being part of the team. It was difficult because [there was] a lot of emotions going towards looking at how I play in the match… I was proud to be part of the team. So, I gave everything for my teammates, for my school, for my coach, for everyone.”
Pais and Sensi said that the ITAs has been a good way to prepare for the spring season. According to Sensi, in the short time she has been here the team is meshing well together.
“We pretty much met everyone a month ago now, [and] we’re all getting on well, with everyone,” Sensi said. “We’re all really close on the court, and also off the court; we’re studying together… We’re going to eat all together, but we’re not doing it because we have to do it, we’re doing it because we want to do it… Of course, seeing the level that we have been producing for the tournaments, I’m really proud of them.”
The Greyhounds had multiple instances where they played against each other which shows the level of the team, according to Pais. Cheering on each other in the games, Sensi said the presence of her teammates is felt when they go out and compete.
“I learned that [my teammates are] always there for me, I was winning [and] they’re [there] to cheer me on… Sensi said. “I think we can do great things together… for the spring. I’m proud of my teammates because everyone is great. I love them; they’re always there for me… So, I’m proud to be part of this team.”
Throughout the tournament, Pais said she wants to thank the coaches for supporting them.
“Thank [you to] coach and the assistant coaches because they have done a really good job during these tournaments…,” Pais said. “They have been there for us on the courts… I would like to thank them because they have been there for us mentally [and] supporting us.”