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Breath of French air

DANIELLE MALOTT/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Graduate student Emilie Scribot has gone from little known and unranked, to the No. 5 player in the country. She is this week's Arizona Daily Wildcat's Athlete of the Week.
By Christopher Wuensch
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday April 30, 2003

Unheralded French graduate student emerges as one of nations top tennis players

Emilie Scribot has breathed life back into the University of Arizona's women's tennis team.

In her first season in Tucson, and in the United States for that matter, the native of France has taken her upstart Wildcats to new heights. Sunday in Ojai, Calif., Scribot played a crucial role in landing Arizona its first Pac-10 trophy in 10 years, defeating the likes of conference powerhouses No. 1 Stanford, No. 4 California and No. 5 Southern California.

Under Scribot, the Wildcats finish the regular season ranked 22nd in the nation with a berth in the NCAA tournament looming on the horizon.

After starting the year unranked, Scribot has vaulted to No. 5 in the nation, accumulating a record of 20-7 in singles play. Pairing up with teammate Maja Mlakar for doubles play, the tandem enters the NCAA's ranked No. 24 in the nation despite its 4-6 record.

Wildcat: How old were you when you started playing tennis?

Scribot: I was six years old, in Paris.

Wildcat: Were you born in Toulouse?

Scribot: I was born in Guadalupe, spent six years there. After that, we moved to Paris for two years. When I was eight, we moved to Toulouse. So I grew up everywhere.

Wildcat: Do you miss Toulouse?

Scribot: Yeah, I do. It's very different. American culture is very interesting. I'm glad I came here.

Wildcat: Why did you pick the UA?

Scribot: I had two choices: either Fresno State or UA. In the beginning, I was mostly for Fresno, then I talked with Simone (Arizona assistant coach Simone Thibodeau), who told me about UA ÷ the weather, the conditions, practices and the level of play. I chose UA, and I'm glad I did.

Wildcat: You're a grad student now; are you able to play for UA for a couple of years?

Scribot: If I can, I don't know if I'm eligible.

Wildcat: What are you studying here?

Scribot: Teaching and teaching education.

Wildcat: You have your undergrad degree?

Scribot: I have a law degree in France (University of Toulouse).

Wildcat: Have you ever thought about becoming a lawyer?

Scribot: I don't know. Right now, I don't know whether I'm going to play for a couple more years or finish my studying in France later. I don't think I'm going to be a lawyer. I'm just playing now and thinking about the end of the season.

Wildcat: Are you thinking of a career in tennis?

Scribot: My coaches, friends and Simone think that I could do something. They think I have the physical capability, but I have to work at it, maybe I'll try.

Wildcat: A couple of teammates speak French; how much does that help?

Scribot: Just Simone and Debbie (Larocque) speak French. She helped me a lot. Especially in the beginning when it was hard, she was always there and I thank her for that. I think she is coming to play a tournament in France this summer, so I'm going to see her there.

Wildcat: What motivates you on the court?

Scribot: I like the fights. I like fighting with my opponents and really giving my best, the competition ÷ you either love it or you don't.

Wildcat: What can you tell me about your doubles partner Maja?

Scribot: She had a tough beginning with an injury to her shin. Right now, she is playing really, really well, and we have a lot of fun when we play doubles. We really enjoy playing doubles and we feel we can trust each other. When you can trust your doubles partner, you are free and can play well.

Wildcat: How are you preparing for the NCAA Regionals next week?

Scribot: We will condition and practice everyday except Sunday. I am going to take a lot of private lessons; a lot of the girls will do that. I know the girls will be focused because they really want to go to nationals. I think we are going to do a great job. We are playing better and better.

Wildcat: Have you been learning the culture of UA?

Scribot: This is a great university. All the athletes have all of their needs right here in McKale (Center). The weather and the teachers are very nice and everything is here for you to do a great job.

Wildcat: Qu'est-ce que vous pensez d'ASU? (What do you think of ASU?)

Scribot: (Laughing) I think it's good to have them as rivals. I think we respect each other. I'm glad we won last time against them.

Wildcat: Merci.

Scribot: You're welcome!

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