By Amanda Phillips
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Deborah Suarez was destined to play tennis.
Growing up surrounded by the sport, tennis is in her blood.
“I started because my family plays tennis,” Suarez said. “My aunt used to be No. 1 in the country in Venezuela and my mom played tennis, as well.”
Born in Venezuela and moving to the United States around the age of four, Suarez was very active as a kid.
“I did other little sports just for fun.” Suarez said. “I did karate, basketball and soccer.”
Tennis was always her main focus and Suarez knew where she wanted to play collegiately.
“Miami was always my first choice,” Suarez said.
Miami women’s tennis head coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews remembers Suarez standing out during the recruitment process.
“Deborah told me in the recruiting process something that I’ve never heard from a recruit,” Yaroshuk-Tews said. “She said, ‘I don’t want to go anywhere other than the University of Miami. I’m not taking trips anywhere. I’m not looking anywhere else.’”
Suarez grew up in Weston, Fla., but coming to the University of Miami was about more than just being close to home.
“I just really liked the coaches, and the environment, and their philosophy on tennis and what they believe in,” Suarez said. “They have very good, structured training.”
An important part of the University of Miami women’s tennis team philosophy is having a short-term memory.
“If we lose a big match, we have to go get ready for the next one,” Suarez said. “So we can’t really carry things over from one match to the other.”
Having short-term memory has helped the 18-year-old capture several big wins for the Hurricanes. Earlier this season, she defeated Kristina Schleich of 25th –ranked Florida State and Wen-Sun, the No. 82 singles player in the nation, of 14th –ranked Texas A&M.
Coach Yaroshuk-Tews believes the talented freshman will continue to improve in her time at Miami.
“She brings fire, she brings fight, she brings what I stand for with that never say die mentality,“ Yaroshuk-Tews said. “I think she’s going to get so much better the longer that she’s here.”
While she has a bright future on the horizon, Suarez is really excited for the future the Hurricanes have.
“The good thing is that all eight girls on the team, we have them for the rest of this season and all of next year,” Suarez said. “So that’s really cool that no one’s leaving.”