Athena Trouillot shining for MSU women's tennis as all-time wins leader
Athena — the Greek Goddess of wisdom and military strategy — was best known for her logic and intellect. For the past four years, the MSU women's tennis team has had an Athena of its own, Athena Trouillot. With a calm and collected battle strategy, she’s racked up win after win, 154 to be exact.
Her 154 wins is the most in MSU women's tennis history. She also owns the most singles wins in tennis history and sits just one win away from the doubles title.
This season Trouillot is 21-7 in singles matches with a team-highm, seven-match win streak still going strong.
“It means a lot, of course, just being able to know I'm leaving a legacy after I leave," Trouillot said. "But to me the most important part is those moments, those relationships that you form and that's what I'm going to take with me and remember forever."
Trouillot said the atmosphere of MSU brought her all the way from Miami, Fla. to play tennis. She started playing at summer camp but didn't want to stop, so her family hired a private coach, Andres Barbosa, until she began her collegiate career in East Lansing.
Since then, she has brought consistent wins.
Despite lacking a powerful serve or overwhelming aggression, Trouillot uses a calm approach with shot placement and spin control to defeat her opponents.
To her, a poor shot or mishap almost appears as if it didn't happen because she shows little to no emotion.
"It does drive a lot of girls crazy just to see that I don't have any big negative reactions," she said.
Now in her senior season, Trouillot has been paired with freshman Samantha Memije for doubles matches. Together they are 15-12, but last season, Trouillot was paired with another freshman at the time, Davina Nguyen. Using her leadership, Trouillot and Nguyen won 18 total matches together.
“It was a great experience, especially coming in," Nguyen said. "She made me feel very at home, she's very warm and caring and she's a very kind soul.”
The two styles of Nguyen and Trouillot complement each other well. Nguyen's power style of tennis from the back and Trouillot's calm play close to the net provides a solid combination.
“She is a very good role model for both tennis and off the court because she is very calm and level-headed and positive and I kind of need that in my life sometimes, so it was very nice playing with her," Nguyen said.
Trouillot was originally recruited by former head coach Simone Jardim, but this past season, there was a change to head coach Kim Bruno.
Trouillot said a coaching change for her senior season could have negative effects on her.
“It can sometimes go south, but we actually got really lucky,” Trouillot said. "The administration did a wonderful job finding Kim, she's been awesome this year, making my senior year a great experience."
Bruno spent the last 11 seasons at Northern Arizona University, her alma mater, at multiple positions.
In her first season at MSU, the Spartans are 17-5 overall and 7-2 in the Big Ten.
"I'm just riding on her coattails," Bruno said. "The girl is a success story in of herself and not only what she does on court, but just her character and who she is has just been so fun to be around and I'm so lucky to have coached her."
Trouillot is a fixture at the No. 5 and 6 courts. In collegiate tennis, generally star players play toward the No. 1 and 2 courts, but Bruno said this doesn't make a difference.
"I think every point counts and every time we can win a point, that matters as much at 1 as it does at 6 or anywhere," Bruno said. "I wouldn't take anything away from her and from what's she's played in our lineup."