SEATTLE - (Sept. 19) Seattle U athletics sat down with senior Michelle Lui of women's tennis to talk about the upcoming season and her invitation to play in the prestigious Oracle/ITA Masters in Malibu, Calif.
“I started playing when I was seven years old because my dad and my mom were playing tennis,” Lui said. “My brother and I picked up the sport and ever since I’ve stuck with it and loved it.”
Lui was a part of the 2017 Western Athletic Conference All-Tournament team, 2016 First Team All-WAC, a two-time WAC Player of the Month and the 2015 WAC Freshman of the Year. The team culture at Seattle U has played a part in her success.
“My favorite part is the team aspect,” Lui said. “We are all really close and so I love that I get the chance to hang out with them on and off the court.”
With a laundry list of WAC accolades to her name, Lui has set lofty goals coming into her fourth and final season as a Redhawk and remains focused on the team.
“The main goal is to win the WAC Championship this year and I think we have a great chance of doing that,” Lui said. “With the new freshmen coming in and the new team dynamics I think we have a good shot.”
The first tournament of the season for the Redhawks will include only Lui. The Oracle/ITA Masters is a prestigious serve up to the tennis season that sees one male and one female representative from every Division I conference compete in singles and mixed doubles. Lui is the first Seattle U tennis athlete to be invited.
“Honestly, it's such a great opportunity and I’m so grateful the WAC have chosen me to represent this conference as the female representative,” Lui said. “It’s surreal. I get to play against some of the best college tennis players. I’m so excited.”
Lui continued, “Almost all of the players play in the NCAA (Championship) so for me, being from a smaller school it is the next best thing to being at the NCAA's.”
Head Coach Adam Reeb also spoke very highly of the ITA/Masters Tournament and what it means to have a player from Seattle U representing the WAC.
"This is such a huge honor to be invited to compete in this event, and Michelle is so very deserving," Reeb said. "The Oracle/ITA Masters is the cream of the crop in college tennis, and Michelle will be a fantastic representative of Seattle U and the WAC there. It's an opportunity for her to compete against the top players in the country and to compete against players she wouldn't normally always get the chance to, so I know Michelle is very excited and ready to go."
Lui's high aspirations don't stop with tennis.
“I am hoping to pursue a career in medicine,” said Lui, who is a biology major. “I am thinking about taking a gap year after I graduate and then plan on going to medical school.”
The Oracle/ITA Masters starts on Thursday, Sept. 21 and runs through Sunday Sept. 24 in Malibu, Calif.