"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."
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