Auburn Tigers signed talented Australian Lewis Edwards for this season, and he is preparing with his teammates for the start of spring action on January 22 against University of Central Florida. Edwards comes from Brisbane and he had a very prominent junior career back home, winning U16 Queensland in both singles and doubles, backed by High Shool successes as well. Already in the early High School years, he knew he wants to play Collegiate tennis in the USA, and he picked Auburn to be his home in the next 4 years. Lewis talked for the official site about some interesting issues, giving crowd the chance to meet him better before they could see him on the court:
If you could go to dinner with three people from the past, present or future, who would you invite?
LE: Roger Federer, Rod Laver, and Nelson Mandela.
If you could play doubles with anyone in the world, who would be your teammate?
LE: Ryan Lipman, our assistant coach.
Three things that you always carry in your tennis bag?
LE: A spare grip, a spare racquet, and an extra pair of shoe laces.
If you weren’t playing tennis, what collegiate sport would you be playing?
LE: When I was younger, probably 10, I played soccer a lot. I’ve played tennis from probably eleven years onward. Tennis was definitely my number one sport. Unfortunately rugby isn’t a collegiate sport. If that were, I’d love to play that because that’s fun.
Did your parents encourage you to play tennis?
LE: Not really; my dad played a little when he was younger. My mom played a little as well. Neither of them were competitive with it. It started with me playing ping pong with Dad. He said, “Hey, he can hit a ball.” After that, he signed me up for the local club and I fell in love with it. I played all through high school, and never stopped playing.
Why did you come to the U.S.?
LE: When I was in year 10 of high school, my coach went to Oklahoma State for tennis. He would tell me stories of what college towns were about. They sounded pretty amazing. A lot of my teammates in high school went to college as well. They’d come back and tell me what it was like; everyone’s stories made it sound pretty amazing. From then on and I just wanted to go to college in the States.
What made you choose Auburn?
LE: I visited Auburn in January during my recruiting visits. The guys were in the middle of their spring matches. Every school is different, but when I came I got the best vibes among the team, coaches and the general university. I love the college town. Everyone I met was just so proud to be an Auburn Tiger. I just wanted to be a part of that.
What’s the biggest culture difference coming from Australia?
LE: Probably just the whole schooling system -- things like the way they grade and the way they do their classes. Back in Australia, as soon as you finish high school you can just go right into law school, or right into medical school. You just start. There are no core classes or general subjects.
Do you plan on trying to go pro once you’ve finished college?
LE: Obviously going professional after college is the ideal plan. Who doesn’t want to go professional? My dream was always to go to college and play college tennis. I want to go to college and get the most out of these four or five years that I can. I want to have the best four or five years of tennis here, while I am at Auburn. Whatever happens after that is up to me. I kind of want to leave all that open. If I end up deciding I want to go professional that’s great, but if not, I have an amazing degree to fall back on, as well as five years of college tennis.
Do you have any specific goals to accomplish this year?
LE: I really just want to improve as much as I can. As a freshman, I learn something new every day. I just want to get as many lessons in as I can before next year. Every day, I try and get better and better. That’s all you can do. As a team, I want us to do really well in the spring.
Who has helped you the most on the team?
LE: The seniors have been great, but generally, it’s the whole team. We all just try and help each other out since we are all in the same boat. I feel very welcome here.
What part of your game do you hope to improve most?
LE: My movements are my biggest weakness. I’m a tall guy, so that’s a big part of my game that’s limiting me from doing well. That’s my main focus every day. I want to move quicker and faster, as well as be more prepared. That takes time, but with work it’ll improve.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
LE: My dad has been a very influential person in my life. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is probably the best advice I’ve gotten from him. Things come out of nowhere, they hit you, and you fall down. If you stay down, you’ll never get anywhere. You have to get back up and sometimes that’s really hard. That’s one thing I’ve learned here at college. One day you’ll wake up and won’t have a good session, maybe you didn’t do well on a test, or maybe you’re lacking sleep. You have to find a way to come to practice prepared and give 100%. I think once I get that down pat, good things will come.
What hobbies do you have outside of tennis and school?
LE: I love the beach, fishing, and surfing.
If you could visit any state in the U.S., where would you go?
LE: Who would you ask to join you? I would go to New York with Cristiano Ronaldo. I would want to go with someone I could stand beside and say, “I’m with him.” I want to visit New York because it seems like the craziest place in America. A lot of TV shows I’ve seen, like Friends, take place in the middle of Manhattan. All those things make New York seem so cool.
Do you have a favorite music genre?
LE: Australian folk music would have to be my favorite. It’s almost the Australian version of country. American country is cool, but it’s different.
What American musicians do you like?
LE: Blake Shelton and Carrie Underwood. When I visited in January I was driving from Atlanta to Auburn and we heard the chorus of “Boys Round Here,” and I thought, this is pretty cool. Then on my first day, I heard the song come on the radio again. It was weird -- the same song playing on my visit and my first day.