Notre Dame junior Kristy Frilling is currently ranked third in the nation in singles and, as of April 1, holds an outstanding 14-1 record on the dual campaign and a 22-3 mark overall. Frilling, from Sidney, Ohio, was named an ITA All-American in both singles and doubles following her sophomore year, when she was also selected as the Big East Player of the Year. A member of the 2010 USTA Summer Collegiate Team and named to the ITA Collegiate All-Star Team, the 5-foot-9 left-hander was also chosen to represent the United States at the Master'U international collegiate competition in France the last two years. She recently took time from her schedule to answer questions about her decision to attend Notre Dame, her role on the team as an upperclassman, how she and her teammates keep things interesting on the road and much more.
USTA.com: Talk a little bit about your recruiting process and why you chose Notre Dame.
Kristy Frilling: My older brother attended Notre Dame, and because I lived in Ohio only four hours away, my family and I would visit him a lot. I originally was planning on going to college far away from the Midwest since I've grown up here my whole life, but the familiarity and the feeling I got on campus was so amazing I couldn't turn it down. Plus, I thought it would be a cool thing for my brother and me to share together. It's fun to talk about our different experiences here, and when he comes to visit, I like to rub it in that I still live at ND.
USTA.com: You were a top-ranked junior, both nationally and internationally. Did you ever consider turning pro instead of going to college?
Kristy Frilling: The idea of turning pro definitely crossed my mind growing up, but as I got older I started to realize how important and rewarding the college experience is. An education is something you can't deny, and being given the opportunity to get an education at one of the top universities in the nation is hard to turn down. I've grown up a lot during my three years so far at college, both in life and tennis, and that's something I'm truly grateful for. After I graduate, though, I'm looking forward to playing on the circuit, and we'll see where that takes me.
USTA.com: You’ve also had the experience of competing for the U.S. in international events as a junior and a college player. Can you talk a bit about what it’s like playing for your country? What was it like teaming up the last two years with some of your college rivals to represent the U.S. at the Master’U event in France?
Kristy Frilling: Playing for the U.S. has been among the greatest experiences and honors in my tennis career. In juniors, I played on some U.S. teams, but playing on the collegiate U.S. team was definitely one of the highlights. I loved being on a team with Irina (Falconi), Caitlin (Whoriskey), Maria (Sanchez) and Allie (Will). I've known all these girls forever, but in college we always had to compete against each other, so it was nice to finally be on the same side!
USTA.com: What have you enjoyed most about your college tennis experience so far?
Kristy Frilling: Definitely my teammates! Our team is full of great girls, and we are all really close. Every day is amazing with them, and we keep each other going. They're the reason why I love ND.
USTA.com: Now as a junior and the No. 1 player, you are one of the leaders, both on and off the court. What do you bring to the table as one of the upperclassmen?
Kristy Frilling: I think I bring a lot of experience, both on and off the court. Mostly I just try to be a good friend and good role model for my teammates.
USTA.com: What are your goals for yourself and for your team this season?
Kristy Frilling: For our team, our goals include winning the Big East, and, of course, everyone wants to win NCAAS. But really, match by match, we're all working towards improving each day and fighting for every match. For myself, I have similar goals. I just want to go into every match fighting as hard as I can and believing I can win.
USTA.com: Most people know that student-athletes spend a lot of time traveling via plane, bus and van. How do you and your teammates keep it interesting?
Kristy Frilling: Chrissie (McGaffigan) is probably the most entertaining person on our team, so we usually capitalize on her antics. Our personal fave is trying to get her to do her famous banana dance. She will also do basically anything you dare her, so that makes for some really entertaining long trips.
USTA.com: What’s the best thing about being a student at Notre Dame?
Kristy Frilling: The atmosphere and the friends I have made here have been the best part about being a student at ND.
USTA.com: Who have been your biggest influences in your tennis career?
Kristy Frilling: My parents, definitely, for all the support they have given me. My coaches and hitting partners growing up have also helped me, not only as coaches but as friends. And, of course, Jay (Louderback) has been a great coach these past three years.
USTA.com: What advice do you have for junior tennis players who want to play in college?
Kristy Frilling: I'd say it's very important to go in knowing exactly what you want from a school and to not just focus on one aspect. College is a place with so many different opportunities, and I think taking advantage of everything a school has to offer will make your college experience that much better.