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Tennis player Wong makes quick work of opponents, academic degree

Junior Gilbert Wong has been an integral part of the national success gained by the Bearcats men's tennis program in recent year

March 12, 2011

Tennis player Wong makes quick work of opponents, academic degree

Junior Gilbert Wong has been an integral part of the national success gained by the Bearcats men’s tennis program in recent years. The America East Rookie of the Year in 2009, Wong followed that up with first team all-conference honors last season, helping BU win its third straight America East title and become one of the top teams in the Northeast. He will graduate in May after earning his bachelor’s degree in just three years. Wong talks about his path to Binghamton from Hong Kong and his collegiate experience in this feature.

When did you start playing tennis?
I started playing when I was seven years old.

What do you like most about tennis and what is most difficult?
The joy after winning matches is what I like most. Maintaining a good fitness level is the hardest thing.

How did it feel holding the nation’s number one ranking in both 16s and 18s?
Hong Kong is a very small city. Six years ago there were not as many junior players as there are now, but I am glad that I was number one at that time in both 16s and 18s.

Why did you choose to go to Binghamton University?
Binghamton is a really good school and has a good reputation in New York. Also, I love competing in Division I of the NCAA. If I were studying in Hong Kong it would be tough to have a balance between academics and sports. I would have had to give up tennis if I stayed in Hong Kong for a college degree.

How was the transition coming from Hong Kong to Binghamton?
It wasn’t bad. My coach and teammates helped me out all the time when I first came here. Binghamton is like my second home.

What were the struggles you faced?
I didn’t really have any struggles. Probably the 12 hour time difference, but I usually get used to it pretty quickly.

How is it being a student-athlete here at Binghamton?
It’s pretty special. It feels like we are well taken care of.

What is your biggest memory from the 2009-10 season?
It was the home match against Radford University. I was cramping at the third set but crushing the match. It was absolutely a great feeling.

Have your parents ever been able to watch you play tennis here?
Nope, it’s way too far for them to come over here.

Do they understand how it is to play tennis on a college team?
Yes, they do.

You are graduating in just three years and will forgo your senior season of tennis eligibility. What made you make this decision?
It was a really tough decision because I received a full time offer from PwC Hong Kong last semester. I would love to play another year for the team, but I believed that it is indeed a great opportunity for me to start my career.

How do you feel about everyone on the team being from different countries?
It’s awesome, we get to know each others’ cultures better and also the languages.

What is the biggest thing you learned being on the tennis team here?
I learned to work hard and fight then good things will happen.

Who are your role models? Why?
My brother because he works hard for his goals and never complains about his life.

What are your long and short term goals?
Short term is to win the conference once again and long term is to pass the CPA exam.

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