After a junior campaign that was ultimately cut short by a lower back stress fracture in late March 2014, one Purdue women’s tennis player has plans to finish her Boilermaker career on top.
Senior Daniela Vidal was forced to retire from her match against Wisconsin’s Lauren Chyphya midway through the 2013-14 season and learned several days later that a stress fracture in her back would sideline her for the remainder of the year. Despite Vidal’s injury, she went on to win the regional Arthur Ashe Jr. Sportsmanship and Leadership Award during her junior season.
With a full offseason of rehabilitation and technical drilling under her belt, Vidal is playing some of the best tennis of her career early in the Boilers’ current campaign. Head coach Laura Glitz is one of Vidal’s biggest supporters and believes the senior is poised for a breakout year.
“(Vidal) has done really well in the fall. She’s only lost one match during the fall, and she’s not even playing as well as she’s capable of,” Glitz said. “If she can just raise her level a little bit, she’s going to have a great year.”
Vidal was fortunate enough to be a part of the Boilers’ last Big Ten Championship win during her freshman year but believes this year’s squad has the talent and chemistry necessary to make a deep run in conference play. While winning in the Big Ten is undoubtedly one of Vidal’s top goals for the season, the senior is more interested in making a name for Purdue tennis during her final season donning the black and gold.
“I want to end on a good note and win the Big Ten again,” Vidal said. “More than that, though, after each match, even if we don’t win, I want us to be fighting as hard as we can so people know that Purdue belongs at the top of the Big Ten.”
If Vidal can manage to navigate a slew of Big Ten opponents this season to qualify for the NCAA Tournament and help Purdue hoist the conference championship, her next challenge will involve finding a way to stay stateside after graduation. The Maracaibo, Venezuela native is currently at Purdue on an educational visa and is still working out her plans after the coming season.
“I want to stay in the states, so I need to figure out how to get a visa,” Vidal said. “Applying to graduate school might be the easiest way to do that since I could keep my student visa.”
Regardless of where Vidal ends up, she has no intentions of leaving her tennis career behind when her time at Purdue comes to an end. Although any possibility of a professional career could be tied to Vidal’s performance this season, the senior says she is too invested in her sport to give it up entirely.
Vidal and the Boiler tennis team will be back in action at 1 p.m. this Sunday when Purdue opens Big Ten play on the road at Northwestern. Purdue will be looking to register back-to-back victories after knocking off No. 25 Tulsa this past weekend in Tulsa, Oklahoma.