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PROVISO PRIDE: An Interview with Janet Buenrostro, First Proviso East Female Tennis Player to Qualify for State Tournament
Janet Buenrostro is one of many talented and amazing student athletes at D209. Buenrostro is a Proviso Math and Science Academy freshman whose outstanding tennis skills quickly earned her a spot on the Proviso East varsity tennis team. During her first regular season at Proviso East, she finished the year with an overall record of 16 and 3; won the Morton Quad, Maine East Quad, finished 3rd in her section during the West Suburban Conference and qualified to play in the IHSA state tennis tournament where she accomplished a record of 1 and 2 during the tourney’s first round on October 19, 2017.
“I am very proud of Janet’s performance during the state tournament. It was a great experience for her to play in such a high stakes tournament so that she knows what she needs to do to improve for next season. Janet played fantastic tennis all season and we are Proviso Proud; She is the first female state qualifier out of Proviso East and it was the first time Proviso East had a win at the State Tournament since 1978.” said, Coach Peter Zak, Proviso East Varsity Tennis Coach.
Coach Zak describes Buenrostro as “dangerous.”
“Janet is one of the most dangerous tennis players I have met because she has so many talents on the tennis court and is incredibly smart on and off the court. She has been coached by her father and by Coach Mel Phillips and is very intelligent; I’m just so proud of her,” said Coach Zak.
Coach Phillips is a tennis professional and graduate of Proviso East High School. Coach Phillips has been coaching Buenrostro since she joined the Maywood Tennis Association team and has joined Buenrostro on her next journey as a volunteer coach for the Proviso East tennis team.
“Our players love how Buenrostro plays and her demeanor on the court. They are very happy for her and are cheering her on every step of the way. It has been a great experience for our team to see their teammate’s accomplishments. It also has been great for Janet to be part of the team and help us grow too,” said Coach Zak.
Coach Zak and Coach Phillips constantly remind their players that tennis is 90 percent mental.
“Many of the kids hit the same way but it’s really just about out smarting your opponent and believing in yourself. We want to build our players’ confidence and ensure that they focus on their game and what they can do instead of how other teams are playing,” said Coach Zak.
D209 caught up with Buenrostro the day prior to the State Tournament to get an inside scoop on her journey to becoming one of the best tennis players in the State:
When did you first become interested in tennis?
I became interested in tennis when my dad taught me how to play tennis. My dad started playing tennis as a hobby at the age of 14 when he was in Mexico and he was the first to introduce me to tennis. At the age of nine I started playing for the Maywood Tennis Association. Even though I didn’t play that well during my first tournaments, my dad kept practicing with me because he saw potential and knew that I would get far.
Who is your sports hero and what do you admire most about them?
Serena Williams because she is one of the best tennis players and I admire her strength.
Have you broken any records?
The first record I’ve broken is becoming the first Proviso East High School female tennis player to qualify for the IHSA State Tennis Tournament since at least 1978. I was very excited when I found out that I qualified and could not believe it!
Can you tell me about your most memorable match this season?
It was a match that took place during a conference tournament against Hinsdale South. I was really tired because I had already played two games and I was just recovering from a sprained ankle, however, I was determined to win because I knew that if I won that third match, I would place 3rd in the conference tournament.
What are your aspirations?
I would like to play in the U.S. and Australia Open; it’s a really big tournament where players like Serena Williams participate. I know it’s a big dream but I would like to at least qualify.
How do you plan on fulfilling this goal?
I will accomplish my dream by constantly pushing myself to play a smarter game.
Have you had any injuries this season and if so, how did you overcome them?
I sprained my ankle during a tennis match a week before conference. I was nervous because I was told that my ankle may not heal on time for me to participate in the conference. However, I took it easy and in a matter of days I was ready to play in the conference.
How do you balance school work and sports?
For me, it’s always school work then sports because that’s what my parents have instilled in me. I go to practice after school and then I concentrate on homework for the rest of the evening.
How would you describe your teammates?
They are fun and supportive. Team work is very important and I wouldn’t be where I am if I didn’t have the support of my teammates. They cheer me on and believe in me which keeps me going.
What role have your parents played during your athletic career?
My parents always remind me that it’s not about winning or losing, it’s about playing the game and trying your best. My parents are so patient with me and I really appreciate them driving me around and supporting me in all I do. I truly appreciate my parents.
Statement on coaches:
I want to thank Coach Zak for always being positive and showing me unconditional support. I also want to thank Coach Mel for coaching me since I was 9 years old and helping me get better.