Meet Ashnaa Rao, the first Johns Hopkins tennis player to win a national title

Johns Hopkins tennis player Ashnaa Rao

Image caption: Ashnaa Rao

Credit: Marshall Clarke

"I came from a boarding school tennis academy where you played five hours each day. All that tennis matured me as a player. Now I just take it one point at a time."

Net Effect

Why you should know her: Rao became the first JHU tennis player, male or female, to win a USTA/ITA national championship when she won the 2014 USTA/ITA National Small College Singles Championship in October. The sophomore also was the first player in program history to win the USTA/ITA Southeast Singles Championship, held in September.

Freshman jinx: After a solid start to her collegiate tennis career, Rao suffered a cracked rib—cause unknown—and was sidelined for three months.

The Rao File

  • Hometown Charlotte, N.C.
  • High school Saddlebrook Prep, Wesley Chapel, Fla.
  • Major Public health studies
  • Favorite pro Rafael Nadal, "one of the hardest workers in the game"
  • On her iPod The Weekend. Taylor Swift's new one, 1989
  • Power song "Enough is Enough" by Avicii
  • Tennis bag extras First aid kit. Jump-rope. Cellphone. Headphones. Aleve. Deck of cards.
  • Least favorite part of practice Bucket of balls to hit countless serves
  • Best advice from a coach Use losing as a learning experience
  • On her sports bucket list See a match at Wimbledon
  • Favorite place Alicante, Spain, where she once trained
  • Family ties Dad Hemanth Rao is a former tennis pro, ranked as high as 115 on ATP tour
  • Favorite junk food Chocolate
  • Favorite movie Mean Girls
  • Hobby Indian classical dancing
  • Ten years from now Practicing medicine
  • Why JHU? Looking for best pre-med program coupled with strong academics and tennis team

Posted in Athletics

Tagged tennis