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.