What makes each Paume Racquet so special is that its meaning is unique to each owner. We sat down with Sabrina Santamaria, former USC Trojan and Grand Slam doubles player to hear what tennis memories and lessons her Paume Racquet represents.
PJ: What does tennis mean to you?
SS: Tennis is one of the most integral parts of who I am today. Tennis represents the sacrifices my parents made for me, all the hard work it took to get here, and difficult life lessons. Being a professional tennis player is so meaningful to me, because it represents opportunity, yet adversity at the same time-- and that’s what I love about it.
PJ: What's your favorite tennis memory?
SS: One of my fondest memories of tennis was when I was about 4 or 5 years old. My parents and I were living in a small apartment in LA, and I remember my dad tied a tennis ball and a string together, and attached it to the ceiling in front of the TV (which always had tennis on). I would smack the ball back and forth for hours, which spurred my love and passion for the game.
PJ: What was the most challenging, yet most insightful experience you’ve had in tennis?
SS: The most challenging point in my career was when I tore my ACL during my junior year of college. I was coming off a hot sophomore year, with an NCAA championship under my belt, and with an unfortunate point in my singles match vs Texas, I saw my leg twist in and out, and fell in the most excruciating pain I’ve ever had in my life. Thoughts of sadness, depression, anger, and an array of other emotions swarmed and took over. “Why me?” I kept wondering why this had to happen to me. After surgery, I was bed-ridden for a month, and in that time, I had the opportunity to reflect on those questions and thoughts, and come to terms with what had happened. In immersing myself in other extra-curricular activities, I was able to turn those negative thoughts into positive ones, gain new hobbies, meet new people, and explore other opportunities besides tennis. I even met my fiancé during that time! This injury that I once thought was the worst thing to happen to me turned out to be a blessing in disguise.PJ: Is there a word or mantra that inspires you or strengthen you?
SS: “Still I rise” -- Maya Angelou