Texas Longhorns Women’s Tennis Seniors Prepare for Final Games
Apr 18, 2024

Texas Longhorns Women’s Tennis Seniors Prepare for Final Games

Reporting Texas TV

AUSTIN, Texas — With the start of the NCAA Championship tournament only a few weeks away, the seniors on the University of Texas women’s tennis team have many emotions as they enter the postseason.

Charlotte Chavatipon and Malaika Rapolu are finishing their fourth and final year in a burnt-orange jersey.

“I wish I honestly had another year,” Chavatipon said. “I was just thinking about it on the bench. I would give anything to have another year at Texas. I can’t believe how fast four years have been.”

The Longhorns are ranked No. 7 in the country and finished the regular season Sunday in Waco with a 4-0 win against the Baylor Bears. Texas is entering the Big 12 tournament with a season record of 19-4.

The Texas women’s tennis team sings “The Eyes of Texas” after the final home match of the season in Austin, Texas, on April 6, 2024. The Longhorns will compete in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on May 4. (Tori Garcia/Reporting Texas TV)

The Longhorns took home the NCAA title in 2021 and 2022, but fell short of the celebration last season as they lost 4-2 to No. 1 ranked North Carolina in the quarterfinals.

However, for seniors like Chavatipon, the final matches representing UT are about more than just a trophy.

“I think it’s honestly more fun, the everyday thing, and what’s really meaningful, not just the winning, it’s the celebrating with them,” Chavatipon said. “Win [or] lose, we have a great team and not just a great team of tennis players, a great team of just people in general.”

Chavatipon and Rapolu were on the two title teams, so their relationship is tightly knit both on and off the court.

“We have a great team chemistry,” Rapolu said.

“We all love each other. We all want each other to win. We all want the team to do well and I think it’s going to be special whatever we achieve with this team. All of these goals that we have for this year, it’s just going to be more special with this team because of how close we are.”

If the team wins another NCAA title in the coming weeks, head coach Howard Joffe said he does not think he could ever prepare himself enough for the massive celebrations.

“I don’t know if my nervous system would be able to handle that,” Joffe said. “We definitely have a chance and it would be a cherry on top of the most amazing careers here at Texas.”

Before the NCAA First Round begins on May 4, the Longhorns will compete for the Big 12 Championship title in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Texas defeated Kansas State 4-0 in the quarterfinals Thursday and will face Oklahoma on Friday.