Georgiadogs.com sat down with sophomore Nathan Ponwith for a quick Q&A to talk about the 2017 SEC Freshman of the Year’s record setting season. N. Ponwith played at the No. 1 singles court for most of the year after beginning the season at the No. 4 spot. He also collected a team-best six match clinchers and set an SEC record for the most Freshman of the Week honors in a season.
What was the best part of the 2017 NCAA Tennis Championships?
“The coolest part was playing here in Athens and having the fans out and having home court advantage. It was a great experience.”
How did you decide to pursue tennis?
“It came between tennis and soccer. It was the semifinals of the state cup, and there was a penalty kick. One of my teammates missed the penalty, I made mine, and after that I realized I didn’t want to be at the hands of anybody else on the court or on the field. That’s why I chose tennis.”
Who was the first person you played tennis with?
“My mom. She taught me how to play at the very beginning.”
Do you have any superstitions?
“They change from week to week. Every tournament I’ll do something new. It’s very random. For example, if the room is one temperature the first night, I keep it there the entire time, even if it’s not the temperature I like. It varies from match to match.”
Are there any superstitions you picked up freshman year that will continue into your sophomore season?
“The bandana might make an appearance. I have to bring out a new accessory. Maybe a cowboy hat or a bucket hat. We’ll have to try it out and see what equipment works. Stay tuned for something.”
What is your favorite meal in Athens?
“Mama’s Boy – the french toast.”
What tennis player do you look up to?
“Roger Federer. He’s obviously the best ever, but it’s the way he carries himself on the court and off the court. He’s an icon.”
There are no newcomers on the team this year. How will having the same returners make a difference?
“We were really young last year, especially me. I didn’t know what to expect. I was pretty immature in the fall, and I learned a lot. I’ve got to use all my knowledge and wisdom going forward.”