In mid-March at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, Oracle CEO Mark Hurd and Tennis Hall-of-Famer Chris Evert announced that tennis professionals Jamie Loeb (UTR 12.13) and JC Aragone (UTR 14.69) are this year's recipients of the third annual Oracle US Tennis Awards.
Since 2017, the Oracle US Tennis Awards have been granted each year to two former collegiate players to support their transition on the professional tour. The winners are selected by a a six-member advisory council comprised of former tennis professionals and executives, and each winner receives $100,000 to support their development on the professional tour. Jamie and JC join a talented group of Oracle US Tennis Award Winners including 2017 winners Danielle Collins (UTR 12.86) and Mackenzie McDonald (UTR 15.02), and 2018 recipients Francesca DiLorenzo (UTR 12.34) and Chris Eubanks (UTR 14.79) .
UTR had the chance to speak with Jamie during the Miami Open on her goals for 2019, how playing at University of North Carolina prepared her for the pro tour and why you may just bump into her at Sephora if she's not on the court. Read on!
What does it mean to you to be a 2019 Oracle US Award Winner? Were you surprised? How did you feel when your name was announced?
I am extremely honored to receive this award and cannot thank Oracle enough for this opportunity. I was shocked when I got the phone call and it still hasn’t set in. A weight has been taken off my shoulders and now I can concentrate on my tennis for the next year without the financial burden. Oracle has done so much helping former college players make the transition to the pro tour and I can’t wait to get started.
What are your goals for the year?
In the past, my goals would be centered around moving up in the rankings but this year I want to continue to grow as a player and trust that all my hard work will pay off. I would love to make main draw of the slams this year since I’ve been close the past 3 slams losing last round of qualifying. It’s easy to get down and frustrated when results don't come, so I’m trying to stay the course and believe my time will come soon.
What do you hope to accomplish in your tennis career?
I want to be the best player that I can be. I believe I have a lot more potential in me and can be top 20 in the world, or better. I would love to win the U.S. Open since it’s my home slam. Literally my home slam since I train there when I am in New York and grew up watching all the top players when I was little.
"Enjoy competing and be passionate...Make sure that drive comes from within you and not from anyone else."Jamie Loeb, 2019 Oracle US Tennis Award Winner
You played at University of North Carolina for two years, winning the 2015 NCAA Division I Tennis Championships. Why did you decide to play in college before going pro? And why UNC?
I felt I wasn’t quite ready to make that jump from juniors to pros at 18. Some girls peak earlier than others, but I felt going to college would serve as a good stepping stone in my career. Being able to get a college education and play for something bigger than yourself was incredible. UNC was a perfect fit for me from the coaches, to my teammates who are my best friends, to the campus and location. My sister Jenna helped me with the college process since I wasn't exactly sure where I wanted to go. She knew Brian and Sara from her visit to UNC, so we all connected and next thing I knew, I was wearing Carolina blue! I am still working towards my degree and I am so thankful for those 2 years I spent at Carolina.
What is one of your favorite memories from your college experience?
I’m always torn when I’m asked this question. The obvious answer is winning NCAAs my sophomore year, but a close second was when we beat Stanford in the semifinals of the team NCAA championship in 2014. We’ve never made it to the finals before nor have beaten Stanford. The match came down to me and I came back losing the first set 7-6 to win the next two sets 0 and 0. Don’t know how I pulled that off, but I remember having tunnel vision and wanting to get the W so bad for my team. Both of my favorite memories include taking down the Cards!
When did you become interested in tennis? How did you start playing and when did you know this was what you wanted to pursue?
I started playing tennis at the age of 3. I’m the youngest of four, so I was basically born into it. I enjoyed it from an early age and when I was around the age of 15 or 16 I realized I could make this my profession.
What has been your coolest experience on the tour so far?
Being able to travel the world and meet different people. New Zealand and Australia are definitely my favorite countries so far. It’s cool learning about other cultures and makes me appreciate the places tennis has brought me to.
What tournament are you excited for this year?
I’m excited for Wimbledon since I love the grass, and for the U.S. Open to play in front of my home crowd.
Who do you hope you get to face on the court?
What advice would you give for kids who hope to be in your shoes one day?
Enjoy competing and be passionate. If you don't have the drive, it’s going to be very difficult to succeed. Make sure that drive comes from within you and not from anyone else. It’s important to enjoy the journey and take the good with the bad. It’s not easy and I’ve struggled many times during the process, but at the end of the day I love to compete and this sport means a lot to me.
UTR Lightning Round:
When I’m not playing tennis you can find me…. at Sephora
If I was stranded on a deserted island, the three things I’d want with me are… my phone, sunglasses and avocado toast
The weirdest thing in my tennis bag is… random waters that I throw in my bag and make it 100 pounds heavy
My favorite food is… chicken parm
My pre-match ritual is… listen to Cardi B