Jose Raventos ’16
Escazu, Costa Rica
How did you initially get into playing tennis?
I have a twin brother, and my dad taught us how to play when I was three years old. I played with the two of them until I was 12 or 13, when I started competing. Then, my senior year of high school, I stopped playing because I was just kind of sick of it. I came to Williams not because I was recruited or anything, but because I liked the school. After getting here, I figured that I would try out the tennis, and it turned out that I was good enough to make the team.
What made you want to try out for the team after not playing your senior year of high school?
I’ve always enjoyed tennis a lot, but back home, I just felt like I wasn’t improving anymore. I’m from Costa Rica and there just really isn’t that much competition there, so I felt like I was plateauing. Also, in Costa Rica, I was never playing for a team, so I was just always playing as an individual. In college, I really wanted to compete in that team atmosphere, and I also just felt like it was a good way to meet people. Since then, it’s just been a lot of fun training and just getting better together.
What led you to Williams?
I wanted a small school and I wanted good contact with professors and the community. When I visited, I really liked the feel of the school and it just felt like the right place. So far, it’s been very good.
What was it like transitioning from an athletic environment focused on individuals to a team-oriented environment?
Honestly, it wasn’t really hard – it was just a lot easier to get motivated and work hard because I was doing it with other people. We are a senior class of five, and from the very first day, we all clicked together, so we made it a lot of fun. It was very easy to get motivated to go to practice every day and improve. I was having way more fun playing on a team than I had playing tennis in high school. That’s the best part of college sports – it’s not just you. In my case, I have 10 other guys backing me up, and when it comes down to it, it’s much more fun to compete and dig in when you’re not just doing it for yourself but for the team.
What have been some of your favorite memories on the team?
Freshman year, we won Nationals with a class of seven seniors, which was definitely a favorite memory of mine. We worked so hard for that one year and [having] it culminate in Nationals was unreal because it also felt like we were trying to do it for the seniors who had put in three years of hard work. To see those sorts of results in the end was awesome. Other than that, other favorite memories include our spring break trips to California. Also, I love when we are playing the matches that are especially tight – like when it’s tied four all. This has happened a few times for me when I’m playing the last match – I’ve won some of them and lost some of them, but those moments are really exciting. You have both teams shouting really hard, cheering on their teammates.
What is it like being a captain this year?
It’s been great. It’s very different from freshman year when I was just a walk-on on the team because I was always looking up to the seniors and trying to learn as much as possible from them. As a captain, I basically try to just give it my best in every practice and match and try to be a good example for the freshmen and sophomores. The way I learned from the seniors my freshman year is how I want the underclassmen on my team to be able to learn from me. I think it’s also important to be there for the team, not only regarding tennis. One of the fun things about being on this team is that it’s not all about tennis. Really, this team is part of the way in which Williams is special for me.
What is your go-to order at Snack Bar?
It changes. It always used to be a pepperoni pizza, but now it’s just a chicken Caesar wrap and fries. I’m making an effort to eat healthier.