Tennis has taken Miriam Rosell Canudas from the small town of Torello, Spain, to the metropolitan city of San Antonio, Texas. She hopes the game will take her back there, not as a player but as a teacher and as a tennis coach.
She has a lot to accomplish before returning to Spain. Her goal to be ranked by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) is something that has eluded her throughout her collegiate career. Now, it can now be checked off her list.
On Jan. 9, the ITA ranked Canudas as the 51st best singles player in the United States. This is the first time a UTSA tennis player has been nationally ranked in program history.
“It’s difficult to get ranked, and it’s a testament to how hard she’s been working toward this,” Coach Erin Scott said after a recent practice. “She beat a lot of ranked players, so when her rankings came out, and she was 51, she deserved to be that high.”
Canudas, a senior education major, started playing tennis when she was four years old. She doesn’t quite remember what attracted her to the game, but she did admit she told her friends it looked like a fun game to play and wanted to try it out.
“I don’t know why I started playing tennis. It was just something I wanted to try,” Canudas said after a team workout. “It’s different in Spain than it is here though. Over there, you play for a club instead of playing for a high school team.”
As she started to develop and hone her skills on the court, Canudas realized she could play and study in America.
“When I was 16, I started playing better, and then when I was 17, I decided to come here,” She said. “I really wanted to study, and over there it was impossible to study and compete at the same time. The colleges over there don’t offer sports, so I wanted to come here, so I could do both things.”
When the time came to select a university to attend, UTSA was an easy choice for Canudas.
“I talked to one of the girls on the team; she was from Spain too,” said Canudas. “She told me how she liked it so much. My dad also encouraged me to go to Texas. It’ll be cool,” he said.
Coach Scott stated that she knew when she first saw Canudas play that she had the potential to be UTSA’s first ranked player.
“I knew she was good,” said Scott, adding, she’s a “really good tennis player.”
In her three previous seasons, Canudas had to learn how to play on a team and how to play with other people, instead of playing individually like the tennis system in Europe is set up. She said she developed leadership skills and learned how to put herself second and the team first.
“You play for you and for the school, you know,” Canudas said of her learning curve playing college tennis. “If you are mad or something and don’t want to play, it’s not just about you. You have to play for the school.”
Coach Scott said since Canudas has arrived in 2014, she has noticed Canudas’ growth in maturity and the passion she has for helping UTSA’s younger players develop.
“She listens to what I ask of her. And she sees the results,” Scott said, describing her star’s overall character. “It doesn’t go in one ear and out the other, like it does with other players.”
As the 51st ranked player, Canudas defeated top ranked players like the number one player from Rice, the best player at Texas A&M and a top Longhorn player.
Canudas does not plan on playing tennis professionally; however, she wants to return to Spain to be a grade school teacher and tennis coach. She graduates this May with a bachelor’s degree in education.