Amy Delman ’24 is a senior captain of the Middlebury women’s tennis team and economics major, originally from Great Neck, N.Y. She recently concluded her fall season after advancing to the quarterfinals in the national ITA Cup alongside her doubles partner, Sahana Raman ’25. In this installment of seven questions, Delman discusses the fall season, her goals for the upcoming spring season and the traditions that make Middlebury women’s tennis unique.
Lexi Linafelter: To start off, you and Sahana advanced to the quarter-finals for doubles in the ITA Cup tournament in Rome, Ga. last week. Can you give me a play-by-play of the tournament? What was the experience like?
Amy Delman: Yeah! The ITA Cup is a national tournament, so we had to advance throughout the regional rounds which were a few weeks ago. At that tournament, we either had to get to the finals or win the whole thing to get to the ITA cup. We played a bunch of matches there and ended up losing to the number one seed in the finals, so going to Rome, there were 16 teams that were, you know, the best in the country. We knew there wasn’t going to be a single match that was easy because everyone who was there was top of their region. We were probably the lowest-seeded team there, and we were still super excited because we are pretty highly ranked in our region, which just shows how strong the competition is outside the northeast. In Rome, we had a first-round match against Vassar, and we just played really well. We dominated them relatively easily, winning 6-0 and 6-0, so we got the number one seed in the next round, and played the quarter-final match against a team that had won the national championship the prior year, from Sewanee. It was a really tough match, we lost in the third set, in a tiebreak. The match finished around one in the morning because of the rain delay, so we didn’t start until 11:45 PM, which is insane. We were only a few points away from beating them, and as much as we were upset, it showed us that we are in it with the best teams in the country and spring is our main season, so we’re really looking forward to that.
LL: How was the fall season overall?
AD: The fall season was great! You know, fall season is really interesting, and definitely more chill than the spring season. A lot of it was working out what you work on in practice and it's way more individually focused. After the summer, when people have been practicing different amounts there are varying levels of intensity, so our first weekend was just everyone trying to get back into it — as the weekends kept going on, the intensity definitely increased and it was fun to see everyone get into a more competitive state. It was especially cool when our freshman, the only freshman on our team, hopped right in and really matched the level of the program. It was a quick, but really fun fall.
LL: Do you prefer fall or spring tennis? Why?
AD: I personally love the spring so much. Fall is so different because it is more individually focused; you are playing the matches for yourself versus in the spring, you are really in it as a team. You and all of your teammates are playing the same team, whereas in the fall I might be playing someone from Williams and my teammate could be playing someone from Skidmore. The fall feels a bit like junior tennis in that sense, but the spring feels like a true, collegiate tennis experience, which I love and can’t wait for my last one.
LL: What are your goals for the spring season?
AD: I’ve had two seasons already and we’ve gotten so close to winning the NESCAC championship both years — we have actually been in the finals playing Wesleyan for the past seven years in a row, and we’ve lost each one. So, our goal first and foremost is to win the NESCAC championship. We’ve never won a NESCAC, so before we even think about the NCAA tournament, the conference championship is our goal. On top of that, as a senior, I really want to play the best that I can for my team and for myself and really just leave it all out there. I think if we do that as a team, we can go past the semi-finals and take it to the next level, which I think we can do and need to do in order to beat the top four teams in the country.
LL: Do you have any fun traditions or rituals before a match?
AD: As a team, when we go to away games, we each get assigned a person to write a letter to and we exchange them on the bus. You write whatever you want that person to hear before a match and it really goes to show how close we are as a team. I think it’s a really nice tradition to bring the team element into a very individual sport, which is something that I think we all want from our collegiate team experience. When you open that letter and see how much your teammates value you as a teammate and a person, it makes you so excited and pumped up to play the following day. I keep all my letters in my bag, and obviously, sometimes matches don't go your way and it means a lot to open the letter and know how much your teammates value you and be able to tell them how much you value them too.
LL: Who is your favorite professional tennis player?
AD: I love Maria Sharapova, I’ve actually gotten to meet her a few times and I really like her style of play; she is really aggressive and such a fierce competitor. On the men’s side, Roger Federer is obviously such a class act and I’ve always really looked up to him.
LL: Finally, and most importantly, what is your spirit animal and why?
AD: My team actually has spirit animals, so everyone got assigned one and I was assigned a moose; I’m not sure where that came from, but since everyone agreed together that I am a moose and that’s who I am to my team, I will go with that! Any animal that is loyal, a team player and super competitive is a big part of being a college tennis player and is hopefully how others see me.
Editor’s Note: This interview has been lightly edited for brevity and clarity.