The next playtester is brand new to Tennis Warehouse Playtester Team, Siobhan Cavan. She previously played for University of Oregon’s tennis team and currently works as an Assistant Web Editor. She playtests both racquets and shoes. Check out her interview below.
Click to View Video of Siobhan
Racquet of Choice: Wilson K Blade Team
String of Choice: Gamma TNT 2 16
Shoe of Choice: Nike Max Breathe Free II
Apparel of Choice: College has conditioned me to be a sucker for Nike
When/Why did you start playing tennis?
When I was five I would run around and pick up all the balls up for my sister whenever she got to play, so my parents gave me a racquet and enrolled me in some lessons. It must have been love at first sight because I’m still head over heels 17 years later…
Who inspires you to play tennis?
My mum. She always says that when I was a kid she would take me to tennis after an unpleasant day, watch me play for five minutes and see my bad mood melt away. She recognized how it made me feel and from that point did everything within her power to help me get to where I wanted to go.
What is your favorite shot to hit and why?
Probably down-the-line backhand. I can also call it my nemesis. Any of my old coaches will tell you I go for it WAY too much, but I just can’t help myself. Some may call it a lack of self control. Why grind cross-court when I can hit the most satisfyingly aggressive, unexpected backhand down the line!? The problem is, I do it so often it isn’t really unexpected anymore… It will probably cause my inescapable downfall.
What racquets have you used (not tested) during your tennis career?
I began with an old (I think!?) red Wilson Hammer that was a bit of a brick, so I migrated to the Wilson Hyper Hammer 6.3. Somewhere around the age of 13 I turned to the Babolat Pure Drive and I upgraded on that a couple times, but my college coach despised the Pure Drive (and with much protest from me), prompted my move back to Wilson.
If you could compare your game style to a pro’s (past or present), who would it be and why?
Let’s just say I have my own unique style! But I can confidently say I have the swing (as well as, clearly, the powerhouse result) of Andy Roddick’s serve. I’m not quite as twitchy and tight as him, but my childhood coach fashioned my swing pattern after ol’ Andy and it’s served (get it?!) me well.
What has been your favorite match you have ever watched (live or on TV)?
I would have to say Federer vs. Roddick 2009, Wimbledon final. Those who know me know I basically have Alzheimer’s when it comes to remembering the details of my life – so I have no idea where I watched it, or who was there with me, but I do remember feeling so inspired. It was a battle (the longest final in Wimby history) and brilliant, right down to Fed’s reaction when he won.
Do you have any superstitions before playing a match?
I get a little jittery sometimes so it’s more just to kick the nerves (nothing to do with being superstitious, obviously, superstitious people are weak): bag has to be zipped up completely on the side of the court, overgrip has to be feeling perfect or I’ll re-do it, ankle brace not too tight and not too loose, water has to be in a bottle because cups make me nervous (I’m not pedantic I just have a fear of spilling okay?!). Just normal, irrational and particular habits that will increase my chances of winning. I’ve tried to kick em’ but they haven’t created nicotine strips to help with these kinds of addiction.
What is the funniest thing that has ever happened while you were playing tennis?
I have to shout out to a lovely friend, and former TW employee, Suzie Matzenauer. I had the privilege of playing doubles with her this summer and we made our way to the final of the tournament. At this point I really must mention an incident that occurred earlier in the year when I was lifting weights at college – I managed to stand up into a bar loaded with weights, at the same time a teammate was squatting it. Concussion ensued, meaning that when I was at net and Suzie accidentally returned a serve right into the back of my head, my brain box was at its full impact capacity for the year. I ended up defaulting out of the final with a bag of ice on my head, trying to figure out whether I was weak or an idiot (still haven’t decided). Guys, it’s a hard knock life.
Have you had any injuries? For how long? How did you deal with them?
Or shall we rephrase, “have I had a period of time without any injuries?” I am one of those greedy people that steal all the bad injury karma so that the rest of you can play without anything worse than a tight muscle. In a nutshell, a long history of injury finishing up with double ankle surgery and a partially missing vertebrae. Definitely surprised that I haven’t turned into a bitter old injury hag. (NB: if you’ve never been injured I’ll probably lose control in a jealous rage when you least expect it and push you down some stairs).
What is your favorite part of being a TW playtester?
Everything! I am still fresh and yet to discover all that is around me, but I have to especially say the amount I’m learning and getting to play as part of my job is awesome. Oh, I also love the people I work with and the team atmosphere, everyone works hard and plays (tennis) hard. Love it!
Who is your favorite TW playtester to hit/play with?
I’m still new here, so I have yet to pick out my favorite or my arch-enemy. Although, I have been enjoying myself some ‘Battle of the Sexes’ doubles with Brittany against guys around the office who (unwittingly) challenge us. Unwise move, my minions, very unwise. (side note from Brittany: We are undefeated!)
Who is the TW playtester that gives you the most trouble?
On court, Chris‘ crafty fox drop shots. If he does it again and I don’t see it and start running early (because with Chris, it’ll happen you just don’t know when!), I’ll either punch myself in the face or aim my next serve at him when he’s standing at net. Haven’t decided yet. Off-court, probably Jay and Spence. These two sit in an area of the office I christened the “Slime Corner” and we like to play pranks on each other. Or rather, Jay pranks me, so I prank Spence. They’re like Siamese twins so it all evens out.
Do you have any nicknames from the TW playtest squad?
Not yet, aside from various misspellings of my name (the bane of my existence). And for the record, it’s spelled: Siobhan, but pronounced: shi-vorn, because I’ll assume it will never stop confusing people! Oh, Jay likes to call me Australian (I’m actually from New Zealand) — not cool, not cool at all. I’m going to have to eradicate that somehow. Jay, watch your back, and your swivel chair.. Some screws might get undone one of these days..
Please check back next week when we feature another playtester in another installment of “Meet the Playtesters.”