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Athlete of the Week

Jesus Esparza/The Rider
Jesus Esparza/The Rider

Name:Koby Jansen
Sport: Tennis
Classification: Sophomore
Major: Kinesiology
Age:19
Hometown: Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

Who is your favorite athlete?
“Kobe Bryant, because of his competitiveness. The way he competes every single night out on the court. He doesn’t make excuses for anything and he just wants to win no matter what.”

Who is your role model ?
“My dad. He was the one that set the foundation for me at a young age. He went through a lot of tough times when I was growing up, so he is the one that showed me gratitude, showed me compassion. Taught me, well basically, is the reason I’m the man I am today.”

What was the best advice you’ve been given and by whom?
“Just when I was finishing high school, my dad told me the thing that helped him was … ‘You’d rather aim for the stars and hit a tree than aim for the tree and hit a rock.’ So, if you’re aiming big and you miss big, you’re still going to end up better than if you don’t aim high in the first place, so that’s probably the best advice.”
Favorite place to hang out on campus? “Probably my room. When I’m not in the court, either in class or in my room doing work, so probably my room.”

When did you begin playing tennis and why did you start?
“I started when I was 10, so I was [a] pretty late starter. There was a racket in the garage and I picked it up and I had a tennis ball and I started hitting balls against the wall just for fun and I’d just do that for hours on end because I liked it so much. Dad said he could put me in some lessons. After that, I just kind of kept developing and then my passion for the sport never stopped.”

Did you win any awards in high school?
“Not really in high school. I won big tournaments. I won, like, state championships three years in a row for tennis. I won school state championship three years in a row, as well. Made semifinals of national championships when I was 16 for my age group. When I came to college my freshman year I was school athlete of the year or freshman of the year. I was WAC all second team singles.”

What are your academic goals?
“I want to go to [physical therapy] school. I want to stay here and go to PT school. So, if I can have a GPA above 3.5, that’s my goal. I’m sitting on about that at the moment, so that’s what I want to keep up.”

What is your favorite movie?
“‘Anchorman,’ just ’cause I think it’s funny. I think Will Ferrell is hilarious.”

What is your dream vacation?
“Probably somewhere in Europe. I want to see Eastern Europe, so probably like France and Croatia around the beach and places like that.”

How do you feel about being part of UTRGV first men’s tennis team?
“It’s cool because we’ve come from UTPA and they were very successful all throughout, so we want to keep the tradition going. Men’s tennis has traditionally been one of the best sports here, so we want to keep that going and we want to succeed for the school and succeed for the program and hopefully bring home some conference championships.”

–Compiled by Jesus Esparza

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