Canes senior tennis player returns to play for final year

CORAL GABLES, FLA. (WSVN) - College athletes had their Spring Season canceled last year due to the pandemic, but one tennis player at the University of Miami decided to come back for one more year.

Estela Perez-Somarriba is currently the second-ranked women’s college tennis player in the country.

The Canes senior is the NCAA defending singles champion.

Perez-Somarriba still has some unfinished business to take care of.

“When players play against me, they think they have a tough match and I want them to think that in order to beat me, they need to go through hell,” she said.

Perez-Somarriba has over 140 singles wins, the most ever for a female player at UM.

“I understood that this was a process and the results, basically, would come eventually if I did the right thing,” she said. “I wanted to prove everybody here that I was capable of doing great things.”

Nearly a year ago, all Spring sports, including tennis at the U, were canceled due to the pandemic and Perez-Somarriba left to be with her family in Spain.

It didn’t take long for her to decide her tennis future.

“I have a great team and I still felt that I had many things to teach them, to convey to them and that was a big reason why I decided to come back one more year,” she said. “I felt that I was not done.”

The 22-year-old also reflected on what happened just before leaving campus.

In an exhibition match in Delray, Perez-Somarriba had a chance to gauge her skills against Coco Gauff.

“I have never played before against a Top 50 player,” Perez-Somarriba said. “The way I handled the situation overall, I was happy about my performance.”

Perez-Somarriba lost 6-3, 6-3 in 75 minutes to Gauff, but the experience fueled her belief she can compete against the world’s top players.

“That definitely helped me,” she said. “As soon as I graduate here in May …. I’m going to give it a shot, try 100%, see how that feels like, see how it goes.”

The Canes women’s team has 15 scheduled matches left before the ACC and the NCAA tournaments.

Perez-Somarriba has the chance of ending up among the top three in all-time women’s singles wins: the ACC Conference.

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