Raul Smego Is Pushing for a Conference Championship in Men’s Tennis This Spring.
The 13th in a row.
You’ve been the Landmark Conference Player of the Year two years in a row. What can you do to top that?
I prefer to get the 13th straight conference championship this year. That’s more impressive than individual accomplishments.
Drew has not lost a conference championship in 12 years. How has the team maintained such a high level of play for so long?
The coach [Jeff Brandes] really gets us to play hard for every match. No one takes anything for granted.
Your brother, Elliott, played on the Drew tennis team the past three years. Growing up in Puerto Rico, how intense was your rivalry?
We never wanted to lose. As much as there was a rivalry, we always enjoyed playing each other. We played together as doubles for three straight years and were First Team All-Conference selections each time.
Do you still remember the first time you beat him?
I actually do because when we were younger he used to beat me. He was bigger, stronger, better. I finally had a growth spurt. That was the hardest match, to finally beat him.
I understand you come from a family of physicians.
My mom, father, grandmother, grandfather and uncle are all doctors. My grandma was an anesthesiologist. My grandfather was an orthopedic surgeon. My mom is a clinical researcher with a specialty in internal medicine. My dad is an internist with a specialty in infectious disease. My uncle is a pediatric anesthesiologist at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.
I’m guessing you’d like to be a doctor.
I’m a biology major. I’m applying to graduate school for a one-year master’s in public health. Hopefully I’ll be applying to med school in the fall of 2014.—Christopher Hann