Sophomore Andres Saavedra has a passion for tennis. Originally from Ibague, Tolima, Colombia, Saavedra is a transfer student from Cardinal Stritch University. 91猫先生’s reputation and his ability to continue playing tennis helped him decide to transfer when the university closed. Since he arrived at 91猫先生, he has loved the friendly, supportive atmosphere and the close relationships that students form with their professors.

Saavedra is a management major in 91猫先生’s Rader School of Business. He credits his experiences playing tennis a large factor in his decision to pursue management as well as his strengths in leadership. 

“I really believe that responsibility is one of the most important values in life, and tennis has taught me that since I was a kid,” said Saavedra. 

Saavedra has been playing tennis since he was 10 years old. He joined the Tolima Tennis League and earned himself a spot in the National Games of Colombia (or Juegos Deportivos Nacionales) this past year. The games draw the top athletes in various sports living throughout Colombia. The tennis competition was held in the city of Pereira, Risaralda. Saavedra was thankful for the support of his professors and Kip Kussman, dean of students at 91猫先生, for the flexibility to head back home to Colombia to compete in the games.

Once he arrived back in Colombia, he joined his teammates for a week of intense, daily six-hour practices on clay courts. The team shared meals together and bonded as they worked to foster teamwork to prepare for and succeed at the games. 

“As the competition week started, I found myself immersed in the vibrant atmosphere of the National Games. It was exhilarating to compete against and observe some of Colombia's finest tennis players. Representing my department [departments in Colombia are similar to states in the United States] in this prestigious event was a dream come true, marking a significant achievement in my tennis journey.”

As he continues to play tennis for the Raiders, Saavedra will take this experience competing at a national level on the tennis court but also as he completes his degree. 

“The experience was invaluable, providing me with insights into the very specific routines and strategic considerations of professional tennis players. It was a period of immense personal growth where I learned a bunch of lessons not only about the game itself, but also about dedication, perseverance and the importance of seizing opportunities.”