Two Minute Drill with Hayden Cassone

Although this is his first year on the Emory men’s tennis team, freshman Hayden Cassone has played an invaluable role in helping the Eagles register a blistering 9-0 win against Rhodes College (Tenn.) with an 8-3 verdict in doubles on March 24. Earlier this season, he contributed to the team’s third straight ITA National Indoor Championship title during a series of matches on Feb. 23-25, with a score of 6-3, 6-2 in singles play and 8-5 in doubles at the finals. Cassone is a pre-business College student from South Salem, N.Y. The team next faces Johns Hopkins University (Md.) at home on March 31.

Thomas Yohannes, The Emory Wheel: What did you think about Emory’s tennis team during high school, and what do you think about it now?

Hayden Cassone: Before I came here, I knew Emory had an [NCAA Division I]-type program with a very experienced coach who cares a lot about his players. Also, they have a rich tradition of winning. When I came on my recruiting trip, I immediately loved all the guys on the team. After being here, it just confirmed my assumptions about how great [the program] is.

EW: So far this season, you have an overall record of 12-2 in singles play, 4-0 in the Spring. In your opinion, did you exceed your own expectations?

HC: My expectations are not personal, but for the team. I wanted to win a national title with my boys, and we achieved that together.

EW: Who is a player you look up to?

HC: I love watching Roger Federer play. He is the best player to ever live, and I give him a lot of respect.

EW: What’s the craziest thing to happen during a tournament?

HC: I clinched the semifinals against [the University of] Chicago at [the ITA Indoor National Championships]. They were a tough team, and I was extremely excited to win for my friends and teammates.

EW: What type of music do you listen to before a game or practice?

HC: EDM and rap.

EW: What’s the most memorable moment with the team?

HC: Winning [the ITA Indoor National Championships] was definitely a fun experience with the team. It was the first time I was with them in a serious team environment, and to win that was amazing.

EW: Any aspirations in tennis for the future?

HC: Since I just turned 18, I still have the national circuit of junior tournaments over the summer. I’m really looking forward to that as it’s my last time around. As for the far future, I haven’t looked that far ahead yet.

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