Successfully navigating through life requires the will to take chances and the ability to adapt to different situations—and sophomore tennis player Ana Perez has mastered the two.
The 19 year old was born in Quito, Ecuador, over 2,000 miles away from San Marcos. Perez is the youngest of her family, with two older siblings.
Growing up in a traditional Ecuadorian home, Perez was close with her immediate and extended family.
Leaving behind the people she loved was a difficult choice, but Perez understood she had to move to America in order to improve herself.
“I lived with all of my family. We live very close to each other,” Perez said. “I was looking to study in the United States, and I got a great opportunity.”
Other than earning a good education, Perez was looking for a place to expand her skills on the tennis court, and Texas State happened to meet all of her criteria.
“I wanted to keep playing tennis and get a degree,” Perez said. “When I got a scholarship offer here, I accepted it.”
The sophomore began playing tennis at age 12, but the passion she now has for the game wasn’t there in the beginning.
“I started playing when I was 12 years old,” Perez said. “Before that, I didn’t enjoy tennis much.”
At the time, Perez disliked the game because she was competitive.
“I didn’t like it because you lose more than you win, and I’m a very competitive person,” Perez said. “I don’t like losing.”
Perez gave tennis a chance after a bit of a push from her father.
“My dad told me I had to do something over the summer and he said pick between piano and tennis,” Perez said. “I enjoy music, but not playing piano; so I chose tennis.”
In addition, Perez’s father influenced the way she plays the game.
“My dad used to play really, really well and he loved doubles, so he taught me since I was a kid how to play and strategize,” Perez said.
The lessons her father instilled in her still resonate in how Perez prepares for competition.
“The night before, I start thinking about my strategies,” Perez said. “I think ‘what are my weaknesses? What are my strengths?’”
Perez is aware of just how important luck is in sports, and she accepts no one has control over such factors. She prepares by being as ready as possible to adapt to the unpredictable.
“You can’t rely on everything going well every single day,” Perez said. “I think positive and I look at different strategies so if something doesn’t work, I see what I can do to adjust.”
Once she had a taste for the sport, there was no turning back. Before becoming a Bobcat, Perez was ranked No. 2 among 18-and-under Ecuadorian players.
What began as distaste turned into strong passion by the time Perez arrived at Texas State.
Perez ultimately hopes to transition into playing tennis professionally, but understands how difficult achieving this goal can be.
“After I graduate, I plan on trying for at least a year,” Perez said. “If I can get a sponsor, I’ll try maybe for one year or two.”
If the plan to go pro doesn’t work out, Perez will put her finance degree to use.
“If it doesn’t work out, I’ll just continue with my career,” Perez said. “I can do something with finance. I’m really good with numbers and I really enjoy it, so I’ll probably work at a company or maybe even start my own business.”
Whether Perez ends up as a professional tennis player or business owner, she will succeed.
With a good head on her shoulders, an abundance of confidence and a robust competitive spirit, Perez is ready to take on all of the challenges the world throws her way.