Tennis Prose



Biofile: Peri Sheinin

There was a new face in the media center of the Newport Hall of Fame Open. Peri Sheinin, a sophomore student and tennis player at Brown University, was working as a media liaison in the press center, helping take care of the needs of the media and tournament operations. It turns out Peri competed against American rising stars such as Whitney Osuigue in junior tournaments. At the phenomenal rate seventeen year old Whitney is progressing now in tennis – she became the first American to win the Junior French Open title in 28 years –  it was hard to resist the temptation to commence a ‘Facing Whitney’ feature or someday maybe even a book. Peri was kind enough to share some insights about Osuigwe and answer some Biofile questions…

Question: Memories of playing Whitney Osuigwe at Clay Court Nationals (Whitney was around twelve at the time)?

Peri Sheinin: “One thing that I can remember is that every single serve I hit was attacked. I had never played anyone who attacked my first serve as well as my second serve. She stepped into every ball and I was constantly on defense. My dad would always talk about the match with me after I got off the court but I remember my dad just looking at me and shaking his head after I played Whitney. The only thing he said to me was She was something special. It was an honor to be on the same court with someone who has become such a star.”

Question: Had you heard about her before you played her? Did she already have a rep?

Peri Sheinin: “I had heard her name but had never met her. She was a high seed in the tournament but I had never seen her play before.”

Question: How was the rest of her game?

Peri Sheinin: “She had a great forehand with a ton of topspin. We were playing on clay and I remember her forehands nearly bouncing over my head!”

Question: Who is the best player you ever shared a court with?

Peri Sheinin: “Whitney was definitely one of the best players I have ever faced on the other side of the net. I have also had the privilege of playing doubles with future stars on the same side of the net. I have played numerous doubles matches with Margaryta Bilokin and Safiya Carrington. Margaryta reached a career high of world No. 20 in juniors and reached the final of the 2017 Orange Bowl, where she lost to Whitney Osuigwe. Margaryta plays at Duke, while Safiya recently reached the finals of a $15K pro tournament and will be entering her freshman year at LSU.

Question: Describe what it means to play at Brown University (Division 1, Ivy League)?

Peri Sheinin: “I love playing for Brown. It is an honor to represent my school in the classroom and on the courts. It has been a great experience to work on improving aspects of my game in the college setting.”

Question: What are some dream jobs you would like to pursue after graduation at Brown?

Peri Sheinin: “I really want to work in the business of tennis in some capacity. I want to write and produce media for tennis. More specifically, it would be a dream come true to work for an athletic retail company like Nike or Adidas, Tennis Channel, or the WTA or ATP.”

Question: Favorite players you like to watch?

Peri Sheinin: “I enjoy watching Dominika Cibulkova and Simona Halep. Like me, they have a short stature but they both have beautiful technique and powerful strokes.”

Question: Why do you love tennis?

Peri Sheinin: “Tennis has always been part of my identity. I began playing tennis at 6 years old and feel forever indebted to this sport which has taken me all over the country and given me the chance to be a student-athlete in high school and college. Tennis is an individual sport but players are not constrained by time or repetitive routines, every point is different.”

Question: Greatest moment of your tennis career?

Peri Sheinin: “I was selected to represent New England at the 2012 Longines Future Aces event held at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. I had the chance to meet my idol, Billie Jean King. In between matches, Billie Jean took a few of us out on the court to work on volleys. I will never forget the feeling of having Billie Jean King watch me play tennis.”

Most painful loss: “I lost a three-set match that lasted nearly 4 hours in the brutal heat in Oklahoma when I was 15 years old. I remember having multiple match points but could not close out the match and we battled for hours on a court with no shade. After we finished, my opponent and I were so tired that we sat under the tree next to the court instead of walking up to the tournament desk to report the score.”

Funny tennis memory: “I was on my way to play the finals of a New England tournament and the trunk of my parents’ car flew open in the wind and my tennis bag fell out of the back of the car and onto a two-lane highway. My family watched helplessly in the mirror as a man appeared out of nowhere, ran onto the highway, grabbed my tennis bag, hurdled the median, crossed the other side, and disappeared into a discount Liquor Store. I played the final match with a wooden racket from behind the tournament desk. Three months later, I got a phone call from a bar waitress that she had found my tennis bag in a dumpster outside of a Home Depot!”

Favorite tennis book: “One of my favorite books is Open by Andre Agassi. It is extremely well-written and I have such a high level of respect for Andre for overcoming adversity to achieve greatness in the sport of tennis. Andre has also given back to tennis through the Andre Agassi Foundation, which provides educational opportunities for under-served communities. He also opened a school in Las Vegas, the Andre Agassi Preparatory Academy.”

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