For NC State Women’s Tennis player Jaeda Daniel, tennis has always had an influential role in her life, picking up the sport at the young age of four after seeing her sister play growing up. 

“I started playing tennis when I was about four,” stated Daniel. “My sister played and I think it was a bit of a bonding experience between me and my sister and dad. Over time, I began to love being on the court and experiencing the difference every day and practice brings.” 

Playing on the Juniors circuit throughout her childhood, when the time came for Daniel to choose between playing collegiately or exploring other options she knew in her heart that the opportunity to play at the collegiate level was too good to pass up. 

“Everyone around me at the time was saying that it was an experience that you couldn’t really explain,” Daniel noted. “A lot of people around the world do not have the chance to be a student-athlete or on a Division I team. At the time I just wanted a change and something consistent and college tennis was a perfect fit for me.”

After beginning her college career at Auburn, Daniel felt that it was time for a change of scenery after her Sophomore season and ended up at NC State where she is currently the Wolfpacks No. 1 singles player as a graduate student. 

Here Daniel continues to blaze trails as a black student-athlete and show younger athletes who might look up to her that they shouldn’t be afraid to embrace who they are and what makes them unique. 

“I think it’s difficult at times, and it can be hard,” says Daniel. “I think for me it’s just about being myself and embracing my blackness and just being who I am. I’m more than just a tennis player, I love school, I love tennis, I love working in the community, and I love being creative.”

As her time as a collegiate athlete slowly comes to a close, Daniel had this to say to someone who might just be beginning their collegiate journey and is looking for guidance. 

“Trust yourself, your gut is always right,” notes Daniel. “Do different things, it’s not just school and tennis, you can embrace the other sides of you that others might not. Be strong in what you know and what you believe in because at the end of the day that is all you have.”

- Advertisement -

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here