June 2013

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24 Hawkeyes to Watch: Ruth Seaborne R By James Allan Seaborne wound up at Florida State University, where uth Seaborne dreams of returning to she was thrust into the lineup as a true freshman. She Wimbledon, and she believes the University of Iowa women's tennis program will get her there. finished her initial season with a 17-8 singles record, which included an eight-match winning streak to close That wasn't always the case. the year. Tennis wasn't on her radar until she was 11 years old, and it was by chance that she was introduced to the sport. "I was a soccer player," said Seaborne, a native of London, England. "I was at the house of one of my friends and they forgot they had a tennis lesson, so I had to go with them. In order for me to play, I had to become a member. I ended up quitting soccer, and I have been playing (tennis) ever since." Following the strong finish, Seaborne earned a wild card spot in the qualifying rounds at the Junior Championships at Wimbledon. "I had a good run at the end of the season, so the national association gave me a shot into qualifying," she said. "I beat a couple of girls who are in college right now. One girl is ranked in the top-10 (Lauren Herring of Georgia), so that was a great win. In the first round, I beat another girl from America." Seaborne went all in with the sport. After earning a preseason ranking of No. 99 leading into the fall of her sophomore season, Seaborne came By age 16, she advanced to the finals of singles in Nottingham ITF and was crowned champion in doubles down with mononucleosis, which delayed the start of her season. Playing anywhere from No. 1 through play. She won the Edinburgh ITF Championship and No. 5 in the Seminole lineup in the spring, Seaborne captured the doubles title at the 2010 British Junior finished with an 11-11 record, and she started thinking National Championship, and competed at the Junior about change. Wimbledon Championship in 2010. After graduating from Cheam High School a year early, "I loved it (at Florida State), but I felt the coaches at Seaborne was ready to turn professional, but her coach, Iowa would be a better fit for my game," said Seaborne. Sarah Borwell, opened her eyes to the collegiate route. "We have a new coach, Courtney (Nagle), who I had a couple of doubles sessions with and instantly, I thought "I wasn't even thinking about (going to college)," said she was great. Seaborne. "She changed my mind on things and showed "Katie (Dougherty) is one of the best coaches I have me college was a positive step to take in my career. had. That has helped me, and I have improved so much "She stressed the opportunities there are in college since I have been here. It couldn't have been a better and how great it was to be a part of a team. All the move." benefits like getting a free education on a scholarship and not missing out on those crucial four years, which UI head coach Katie Dougherty first saw Seaborne I wouldn't have had if I was going straight into playing play at the Junior Wimbledon, and Dougherty felt Seaborne's style of play would be a great fit for the tennis." Hawkeye program. 37

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