The Brown and White sat down with Lehigh women’s tennis senior Jamie Campisi and junior Christina Auyeung to talk about their chemistry on the court, the evolution of their friendship, crepes and more.
Q: What has your experience been like as partners? What is the dynamic together and what is it like being partners playing at a Division I level?
Jamie Campisi: Christina and I have been partners for three years now. We got partnered up pretty much as soon as Christina came in as a freshman and I was a sophomore. I think the first thing you have to look at when you are looking at doubles partners is which side of the court they prefer to play on.
I prefer to play on the backhand side which matches up really well with my strengths. Christina plays the forehand side really well, so those are the basic fundamentals of what coaches look at when matching doubles partners, which are partners who play opposite sides and can compliment each other that way.
As we started to play together, we realized that just kind of the way we approach competitive Division I tennis and how we approach our matches is very similar. We are both very competitive people who thrive on competition and at times even get mad.
One thing that we also noticed very quickly is that neither one of us lets our anger or nerves get out of control and we are both very good at calming each other down if something is not going well. So not only did we match up well playing-wise, but our personalities on the court also meshed really well together.
Christina Auyeung: So similar to what Jamie said, we have very complimentary styles. I have a very good baseline game, which sets Jamie up because she is so aggressive and so good at the net, that we are able to play off of that style. We even have particular strategies which we can get ourselves in situations where I get to play in the back and set her up and she gets to play at the front in the net and put the balls away.
That has always been a really big strength of ours, just that our styles compliment each other which is very hard to find in tennis. Surprisingly, you would think that in tennis you would be able to find more good pairings like that but it just worked out so well in our case.
And again, what Jamie said, our personalities match. We have very analytical, tactical minds, and there are players out there that aren’t like that, and they might not like to think that way or like to know. We like to scout our opponents ahead of time, which is a huge thing that we bonded over. Our dads love to scout our players and give us a scouting report, and we like to read them and form strategy from that.
Q: How did your friendship develop? Do you hang out off the court as well?
JC: So when I was a freshman, Christina actually stayed with me on her recruiting visit. So when Christina came to look at Lehigh, I was lucky enough to be the person that coach asked if she could stay with, and we just really hit it off very quickly and right away. We were very friendly, we watched The Grammys that night, and I had heard about a new place that I wanted to try, Full of Crepe.
CA: I love crepes!
JC: It turned out that Christina loves crepes, and so the next day I took her on a tour of campus and then took her to Full of Crepe, which I think really helped to seal the deal. So by the time that Christina arrived at Lehigh, we already had a relationship and friendship because we had that 24 hours to spend together when she was on her recruiting visit. We could tell that we had hit it off right away, so the friendship had definitely already started. Then, since she has come to Lehigh, I would consider Christina one of my very best friends at Lehigh. I’m getting ready to graduate soon which is a little scary.
Q: Jamie, what are your plans for after graduation? How do you feel about it and what is it going to be like stepping away from tennis?
JC: That is the big thing that I’m dealing with right now, is figuring out not only what life after Lehigh looks like, but what life after tennis looks like. At this point, I feel like I have been here for four years. I’ve had a terrific Lehigh experience and I think I’m ready to move on to that next step away from college. I start law school in the fall, which I’m really excited to be able to attend Seton Hall Law School in New Jersey. I’m from New Jersey, so I will get to go back home and go to, what was my top choice, law school, so I’m very excited about that.
CA: And, you’re close enough to visit us at Lehigh.
JC: Exactly, that was important to me and what I am excited about is that even though I’m not going to be a member of the team anymore.
CA: You’re always going to be a member of the team, oh my gosh please don’t say that.
JC: Although I’m not going to be a member of the team on the roster anymore in two weeks from now, I look forward to going to law school only about an hour away. We are lucky that Lehigh has given us so much that we had the resources to make an indoor tennis center which allows us to have many of our matches at home and not have to travel too much.
So I am looking forward to come back for some of those home matches and see Christina and the other girls on the team, who I have become so close with. I’m very much excited to move on to the next chapter of my life and start law school.
So I’m kinda ready for college to be done, but not for tennis to be done, if that makes sense. I’m not quite sure what that big gap is going to be filled with in my life, having played sports at a competitive level from a very young age and then tennis at a competitive level since I was in eighth grade, to not have that everyday is definitely going to be a big void, probably filled with a lot of work in law school.
But to know that I have established such amazing friends here on the team and even really great relationships with the coaching staff and people in the athletic department, I’m looking forward to being a very involved alum and getting to see everyone as often as possible.
Q: Christina, what are your thoughts on Jamie graduating, and what do you think it’s going to be like without her?
CA: Oh man, I don’t even want to imagine that right now. We just had a very emotional senior day yesterday, which Jamie teared up at, and I couldn’t even look because I wanted to cry just thinking about the fact that she’s going to be gone. She’s just been such a big part of Lehigh tennis. Lehigh tennis and Jamie to me are very synonymous.
She has been here every single year that I have been here so far, and I don’t think actually we have been separated for one match in doubles. That in itself is a huge accomplishment and is very special. You never really see that on any team. I have never seen that on any team. It’s very unheard of, so it’s going to be such a big change for me.
From going from having Jamie as my captain, team leader, big sister, best friend, confident, all these things that she is to me, to not having that person at all. No doubles partner, no team captain. I’m most likely going to be a team captain next year, so I’m going to have to fill very, very big shoes, which will be something else I will need to figure out.
So I guess in summary, I am very, very sad to see her go. I am very nervous for next year, to see how the team is going to be without the captains. Jamie, Cassidy (Cruz) and Nina Larazza were such influences on the team and played such big roles that we are all going to have to somehow fill. But, I do wish Jamie the best of luck. I wish her to have such a great time at law school, but to miss us so that she still will come and visit.
Q: Jamie, you have been in the more “mentor” or leader position since Christina has come here, how have you seen her grow as a player and how have you tried to help her along the way?
JC: I think one thing that is very interesting is that I Christina and I have had a pretty even 50/50 relationship as far as our influences on each other. Even though I might be a year older than Christina, she is one of, if not the best player that has come through Lehigh women’s tennis. She has been the number one player since she came in her first year and has had tremendous success.
So even though I might have a year’s more experience, there is so much that Christina knows about the game and has improved my game that I feel like it is overall pretty even in the benefits and things we have learned from each other. It hasn’t been just me teaching Christina things and showing her the ropes.
In fact, I would probably argue that I have learned more from her than she has learned from me, but I guess what I would like to think is that I have been trying to set a good example for the underclassmen as someone older who has shown leadership for the team and shown an example of a team leader as someone who puts the team’s needs first ahead of their own.
That isn’t really something that anyone on our team has struggled with, but hopefully emphasizing it a little bit more. I can honestly just say that since Christina is such an amazing player that playing wise, it has probably been her helping me with my game.
CA: Yeah, but you helped me become a better team leader. There’s a lot that you have taught me too, give yourself some credit. Coming from the person that learned from the great Jamie Campisi, I’m sure that everyone already knows this, but like everyone knows who Jamie is because she is so involved.
She was a (Student Athletes Leading Social Change) co-captain, which is a huge accomplishment. She was in Legacies, and almost everyone in the athletics department knows who she is and knows what Jamie Campisi is about, and that is something that I have always looked up to and I have always wanted to be a part of something like that and be as involved as she is.
I have learned a lot from that and she has great time management skills. She is one of those people that can have 50 million things on her plate and be stressed out, but still be willing to lend a hand to anyone. As small of a thing as driving the freshmen up to the back of the dorms so that they don’t have to go up five flights of stairs, and instead just have to go up one flight.
It’s the really little things that she does, that you really have to learn from. I have learned so much from that and she always takes the extra little step which I have always admired. It takes a lot of effort to do those little things and takes a lot of effort to be conscious of those, and a lot of people aren’t.
And her leadership in general, she doesn’t just care about team success, but she cares about the individual success, which I think is so important because it can be so easy to lose yourself in the whole “our team needs to win.” But there are also players on the team and there are individuals on the team who need to grow in order for the team to grow.
I think she has done a really good job fostering relationships with every teammate and making sure they are on the right track and growing in the correct way, and that’s something that I will hopefully be better at next year being a senior and leader. Even tennis wise, I would like to say I have taught Jamie some things, but she has also taught me quite a few things as well, I mean her aggressiveness at net is absolutely insane.
She is absolutely fearless at the net. There will be a 100 mph ball aiming straight for her face and she just stands right there and takes it and puts that ball away, I wish I could be more like that, I’m not like that, I get scared and quiver in my feet a little bit. She just stands right there like a brick wall and is fearless, and that is something to be admired and something really awesome to learn from. Hopefully I can take all these things and learn from them and utilize them next year.