Schnurrenberger takes on leadership role
Manuel De Jesus | Wednesday, September 3, 2014
As the Irish continue to prepare for their first match of the season, the upperclassmen — including junior Eric Schnurrenberger — are looking to make leadership a focal point this year.
Notre Dame finished last season No. 13 in the country, which is its highest national ranking since it finished No. 6 in 2007. Schnurrenberger said the Irish want to be a better team this year than last season, and he wants become a role model for the younger players on the team.
Schnurrenberger, who is the lone international athlete on the squad, finished last season with an overall record of 25-17. Schnurrenberger was also able to participate in the Round of 16 for Notre Dame before the team was eliminated by Virginia.
Throughout his life in Switzerland, Schnurrenberger said he has been influenced by tennis and the opportunities it has given him. His entire family played tennis, and for as long as he can remember, he said he has always had a tennis racquet in his hand.
“I’ve never played in any other sport competitively,” Schnurrenberger said. “I always knew I was leaning towards my academics, so I never really looked to it make it a profession, but I’ve played in tournaments all my life sacrificing time and money to make it a passion.”
“My whole family has played tennis,” he said. “Through it, I have had so many opportunities. I wouldn’t have been here at Notre Dame without being a tennis player.”
Schnurrenberger also said tennis has helped him whenever he struggled off the tennis court.
“The lessons I’ve learned through the game,” Schnurrenberger said. “You can compare it to life. You have your bad moments and your good moments, so it prepares you very well for what life sort of shows.”
Schnurrenberger said he believes that being an international athlete has helped him bring a different perspective of playing the game to the rest of his teammates here.
“There’s a big difference in terms of tennis in Switzerland and college tennis,” Schnurrenberger said. “Here, you’re encouraged to be rowdy, energetic, and enthusiastic. In Switzerland, I played in a couple of tournaments over the summer, and it isn’t the same feel as being in a college environment, but having both experiences helps me be a more well-rounded player. Here, you’re really proud of being a part of the University, and that’s something I want the other players to recognize.”
Schnurrenberger is now an upperclassman as a junior, and he said he’s ready to step into the leadership role to push his team to the next tier of elite college teams.
“As a leader, I want to always go to practice with high energy and ideal attitude,” Schnurrenberger said. “It’s the most direct effect to your teammates. If you have good energy that helps electrify your teammates, if you really buy into your game and be the best player you can be, it helps push your teammates to want to be the best as well. By helping yourself, you’ll also end up helping your teammates.”
The tone in Schnurrenberger’s voice quickly changed from enthusiastic to seriously determined as he gave the final and most important part of his outlook as a leader.
“It’s important to not be too result-oriented,” Schnurrenberger said. “It’s better to be process-oriented. When you focus on doing the right things in practice with a strong drive, and focus on the process of improving your game, the consequence of it all will be winning.”