The VCU women's tennis program has rich tradition of excellence and last year was no different. The Rams captured the 2010 CAA Championship and earned a top-25 ranking on several occasions throughout the spring.

This spring is no different, but the Black & Gold will rely on some new faces with one of them being freshman Daria Yakavelva. The Minsk, Belarus native had a strong fall season and looks to be a big part of VCU's success. Prior to hitting the practice courts, she chatted with VCU Athletic Communications Student Assistant Nan Turner to talk about life away from tennis.

NT: Why did you choose VCU and what is your favorite thing about it?
I chose VCU because I wanted to improve my tennis skills and to help continue this program's tradition of reaching the NCAA Tournament. The coaching staff is very good here and I really just felt it was my best option. As far as the university, they have so many options of different areas you can study and the professors are very nice and approachable.

NT: What is the biggest difference between Richmond and your hometown of Minsk, Belarus?
The biggest difference is that Minsk is bigger than Richmond. Here I feel more calm, than in Minsk. Minsk is crazy town, everybody are busy. It's annoying.

NT: What is the best advice you've ever been given?
Life is very complicated thing.

NT: What player do you try to model your game after the most and why?
I think, Justine Henin. I really like the style of tennis she plays. She has the power shots, but really knows how to attack the net. Her game is really interesting because she is such a smart player.

NT: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Hard question. I don't know really. My major is bioinformatics. Maybe, somewhere there in this area.

NT: What is a typical day off the court like for you?
I like spending time with my friends, going shopping, listening to music and watching movies. The other thing I enjoy is cooking, I can make many delicious choices.

NT: If you could trade places with one person, who would it be and why?
I don't want to trade places. I want to be like I am now.

Quick Hits

Racquet brand? Wilson
Favorite place to eat in Richmond? Piccola
Funniest teammate? Olga Terteac
Singles or doubles? doubles
Home match or away match? Home match
Favorite sport other than tennis? Football
TV show? House M.D.
Movie? AWalk to Remember
Singer/ band? Madonna