Feb. 23, 2011
GS: Why did you choose Stanford?
BK: I chose Stanford because the combination of excellent academics as well as an incredible athletics tradition is second to none. I wanted a school that would challenge me in both aspect while providing a positive environment for me to grow in, and Stanford was the perfect choice. On my visits to the school, the guys on the team were very welcoming, and made me feel right at home. It was so important for me to have great teammates to surround myself with because we spend so much time together, and they were the ones who made the college decision an easy one for me.
GS: When did you first start tennis?
BK: I first started playing tennis at the age of 11, after my mom entered me in a round robin tennis league over the summer. My mom played in college, so we would always play on vacations as a family before then, but I had always been interested in other sports like baseball, basketball and soccer up to that point. Soon after, I began to drop the other sports and start focusing solely on tennis.
GS: Recently you played at the SAP Open, what was that like?
BK: Playing the SAP Open and drawing world No. 12 Gael Monfils in the first round provided me with another incredible opportunity to experience the highest level of professional tennis, and only served as added incentive to do everything I can to give myself a chance at being successful at that stage. It was an incredible atmosphere to play in HP Pavilion during the night session with my friends boisterously supporting me. Outside of the U.S. Open last year, it was by far the biggest stage I have played on, and I had to control a lot of nerves in addition to playing one of the best players in the game today. There is a certain level of intensity, focus, determination and professionalism in which these guys carry themselves on and off the court, and as I start out with my career, it is crucial that I soak in as much as I can to help make a better transition from college to the pros. I also competed in the doubles with Ryan Thacher, and we had a good first round win against the No. 3-seeded team, so hopefully we can carry the momentum and confidence gained from that win, and the tournament as a whole, throughout the college season.
GS: What has been your favorite Stanford Tennis moment?
BK: My favorite Stanford tennis moment thus far would have to be winning the NCAA Singles Championship last year at Georgia as a sophomore. Stanford has such a rich tradition of tennis greats that have gone on to win singles championships while at school, and to be recognized in the same category as these guys is an incredible honor. There was no better feeling for me than to see all the extra hours on the practice courts and in the gym pay off in the end, and it was great to share that moment with my mom, who made the trip out from San Diego to watch the tournament. My mom has been so supportive of everything and provided me with endless opportunities to further my tennis career and achieve my goals. Without my mom and my personal coach, Lee Merry, who has been my coach since I began playing at the age of 11, I would never have had the opportunity to play at Stanford, let alone win a national championship, so to be able to have my mom there supporting me through the tournament culminating in a championship was pretty special.
GS: What are your future Tennis plans after Stanford?
BK: I have always wanted to give myself the best chance to be a successful professional tennis player, and one of the reasons I chose to attend Stanford was because I felt it was a place that could provide me with these opportunities, and serve as a bridge between junior and professional tennis, where I can continue to develop my game, get mentally and physically stronger and fitter and get a world-class education at the same time. After graduation, I plan to start playing professionally, and just enjoy the journey and see where it takes me.