April 2, 2004
1. Fullnames: Christian Eleanor Thompson & Catrina Marion Thompson
2. Birthdate: September 13, 1984
3. Hometown: Las Vegas, NV
4. Intended Majors:
Catrina- Business Christian- Business
5. Favorite Class:
Christian- Introduction to Philosophy with Professor Gutting Catrina- Foundations of Theology with Professor Driscoll
6. Hardest Class:
Christian- Math 108 (Calculus for Business) Catrina- Introduction to Philosophy
7. Biggest reason that you chose to come to Notre Dame:
Christian- We came on a recruiting visit to Notre Dame and we really just loved the team. We thought that Coach Louderback was really good and he also flew out to visit us at our home as well. He is such a nice guy. In the end, we fell in love with the campus and it was like nothing that we have never seen before.
Catrina Thompson plays No. 3 singles for the Irish.
Catrina- The tradition of Notre Dame was a huge factor. Our coaches, Jay Louderback and Michelle Dasso, are very supportive and enthusiastic. Our teammates are great and that played a large role in choosing Notre Dame. We had played junior tournaments with some of the girls, such as Alicia Salas, and we knew that the team was made up of some of the nicest people, and that it was going to be a fun team to be apart of.
8. Talk about your adjustment as freshman, and what it means that both of you are here to help each other through the transition:
Catrina- When we first started talking about colleges, we definitely knew that we wanted to end up together. It was a huge factor in deciding where we went to school because we have never really been apart for more than three or four days. It has been really nice to be together, and they allowed us to live in the same dorm, so when you do become homesick, you have someone to talk to. It is nice to always have my sister there.
Christian- For the most part, we have adjusted very well, and it has helped that we have had each other. I haven’t been really homesick because for the most part because I have been so busy. The hardest part of adjusting was having to go to a tournament by myself without Catrina. Our parents also try to come up to visit, but so far everything seems to be going well and we are enjoying ourselves here.
9. What has been your favorite part about being at Notre Dame and playing tennis for the Irish?
Catrina- I was really looking forward to playing on a team. In junior tennis, we usually play singles or Christian and I would play doubles together. Being able to wear that Notre Dame warm-up and knowing that you play a sport at Notre Dame is just a really good feeling. Being on a team also has made our adjustment easier. When we first got here we had a team and friends to support us.
Christian- The football games were unbelievable! Being from Las Vegas, we haven’t really been to football games until we came here. I would also agree with Catrina that playing on a team has really been so much fun and the girls on the team have been so nice to us.
10. Describe yourselves first as tennis players and then as people:
Christian- As a tennis player I am aggressive, or at least I try to be. I think that my movement is a key factor in my game and I know that my footwork is what pulls me through matches. I also think that I have pretty good volleys and a good return. As a person, I am extremely shy. Being a twin, it is harder to develop individually, but I feel that in being here I have been able to grow as an individual. I feel that I have opened up more and I have made some really good friends here. But I am still pretty shy!
Catrina- As a tennis player, I am a true baseliner and my forehand is my biggest weapon. I would prefer to play doubles over playing singles. As a person, I am the more shy of the two of us. I do mostly what Christian does and I kind of follow her around. I am also an animal lover and I can’t live without my dog!
11. It is easy to point out the similarities between the two of you, but how are you different from each other and how do people tell you apart?
Catrina- Umpires always ask us how to tell each other apart and I don’t know if they can see it much, but Christian has an earring at the top of her ear. Once you get to know us it is pretty easy to tell us apart. Christian has blonder hair than I do and she is much more outgoing than I am.
Christian- I am the one who wants to go out more and Catrina is the type of a person who stays in a bit more. Everyone always says that I am the older twin because I am a bit more outgoing even though Catrina is older. She is also more of a sports fan and usually knows what is going on in different games and such.
12. Before you both came to Notre Dame you were the number-one-ranked under-18 doubles team in the country. Could you talk about that experience and what that distinction meant to you and also what it has taught you about the game and about yourselves?
Catrina- It is a great honor to finish the season number one in the nation. The first tournament that we won was when we were 14, and just the feeling of beating other girls who were training and working five hours a day at a time when we were only playing for two hours a day was a great feeling. I think what made it even more special was sharing that honor with my sister. It would have been different not sharing that feeling together.
Christian- We have put in our hard work and to go through an entire season, and not just a few tournaments as number one, is relieving. It is nice when you see all of your hard work pay off. Being number one and finishing number one is a distinction that stays with you for the rest of your life. Just the experience of being number one is beneficial.
13. Both of you have made an immediate impact since coming to Notre Dame. You are now the No. 1 doubles team, while playing the Nos. 2 and 3 singles positions, as well. You have also both been ranked nationally in singles and doubles. These are very notable accomplishments for any player and you hold these slots as freshman. Did you know that you were going to be able to make such an impact when you got here and what has the season meant to you so far?
Christian- It is important to understand that our team is very deep. Our No. 6 player could easily play No. 1 for us. Conditioning has been a big factor in our transition here as well. Conditioning is very different between juniors and college and every day in practice, we are playing with the best. It is different than what we had in Las Vegas. I know that our confidence has grown because of our conditioning here and hopefully we can keep it up.
Catrina- Our team is very deep. We probably had a little bit of luck in the fall tournaments that helped us out a bit. Our team is just so deep and so talented. It is great to play at the Nos. 2 and 3 positions, but it is understandable that anyone could fill those slots. I think that one of the reasons that we play No. 1 doubles is that we have played together for so long. It is different and difficult to start playing with a new doubles partner. We have been playing together for so long that we know what each other is doing and we have moves that are able to set ourselves apart. It is fortunate that when we go to practice we get to play with some of the best players in the country.
14. Notre Dame women’s tennis team is unique in that it has two sets of sisters on the team, a distinction that had not happened on any Irish athletics team until women’s tennis accomplished the feat a year ago. Describe the added dynamic that adds to the team atmosphere and what sort of positive impact that has on the team?
Christian- When you watch Sarah Jane and Lauren Connelly in practice and on the court, you begin to notice the little things. In a way, they lighten up the mood in practice by just seeing their small fights where they are just joking around. We are very quiet in practice because we are the freshman but those two are really funny. You can see the support that is involved within both Sarah Jane’s and Lauren’s relationship as well as within our relationship. We are all very supportive of each other and I think that the relationships of sisters bring the team closer together.
Catrina- We talk with Liz Donohue, who played with her sister for the last few years [until Maggie Donohue graduated], and she told us about how tough the adjustment has been not having her sister here this year. I don’t think I could be here without Christian for an entire year. With sisters, you have the support of someone else out there, and you can really see that support in our relationships.
15. How do you prepare for matches both mentally and physically?
Catrina- Mentally, before matches I get a little nervous. To calm myself down I usually try to talk to my parents or listen to music. It really helps to talk with the team and it takes your mind off things when you are joking around. Physically, we usually just warm up with the team. We go for a jog and hit for about an hour before the match. We do a doubles drill which really gets me going because it is fun and it gets you into the mode to play.
Christian- Getting ready mentally is the hardest part about getting prepared. The team really helps you to get pumped up. We have a warm up tape that gets you going. The song “Here Come the Irish” is on the tape and that gets you going, knowing that you play for Notre Dame. Before the match when the team gets together to do a short “Irish” cheer, it gets you ready to compete. I guess there is no real way to prepare for matches except to keep your confidence up and to keep up your intensity level. Physically, some of the more fun drills in warm-ups really get you going as you are listening to music in the background. Right before a match you are as physically prepared as you are going to be, and it is important to stay intense.
16. What is your sister’s best attribute on and off the tennis court?
Catrina- Christian may not show it all of the time, but she would do anything for me. She is always there for me. Because I am the shyer of the two of us, she acts as the older sister and will include me in things when she doesn’t have to. On the tennis court, Christian’s quickness and her footwork are admirable. She is very athletic and at times when I watch her play she comes up with shots that not many people could get.
Christian- I am sometimes pretty lazy and Catrina does a good job of getting me going. I would have to say that she acts more like the older sister. I ask for her advice in everything that I do. She is an extremely loving person and I would also have to say that she would do anything for me. I respect her and I really don’t know what I would do without her. I think I would be lost. On the court, Catrina’s desire to win along with her power is what really stands out.
17. If you could pick a famous partnership to describe yourselves together whom would it be and why?
Catrina- I would have to say Bob and Mike Bryan. They are the number-one-ranked doubles team in the world for men. We actually had a chance to meet them when we were 14. Ever since then, at least for me, they have been my role models. Being twins themselves, they have an understanding of what Christian and I go through. They have been so nice to us. We have kept in touch through e-mail and we have actually been able to hit with them. We have played doubles with them a few times. I just think that their relationship and what they have gone through is similar to what we have gone through. In a relationship such as ours, it is nice to know that someone knows what you are going through and that you always have a hitting partner and someone to support you.
Christian- I am going to say Venus and Serena Williams. When you see them, when they are down and out of it, as rare as that happens, you see something happen where they always seem to come back and win the match. Whether that is because they have played together so long or because they have such a bond, I don’t know, but they have that great ability to comeback. The rivalry that they share is similar to what we had growing up. As of late, Serena has been the better of the two sisters, and we have been through periods where one of us has been the better out of the two. It is important to be able to leave those thoughts off of the court when you are playing doubles. We know that by playing with each other we make each other better and I know that is how Venus and Serena are. I don’t think that we would be where we are now without each other.
18. What is your most memorable athletic moment?
Christian- It would be playing at the Junior U.S. Open. We actually played on the courts of the U.S. Open. Just the experience of that was unbelievable even though we lost. We were able to interact with the real players and we shared a locker room and lounge with the other players. All I wanted to do was sit there and watch all the players walk by. That was by far the highlight of my career so far. I really hope to be able to go back.
Catrina- The U.S. Open was a highlight, but a memorable moment for me was winning our first national doubles tournament together at the Easter Bowl in Palm Springs. The feeling of winning that first tournament and saying that you won a national championship was such an amazing moment. Sharing the title made it even more enjoyable.
19. College tennis is unique in that it takes a very individual sport and incorporates it into a team setting. Individually, how are you able to feed off of each other in a singles setting and as a doubles team? Secondly, in a team setting how important is it for you to have the support of not only your sister, but also your teammates?
Catrina- When we play singles matches here at home, Christian and I play on opposite sides of the court from each other and sometimes I find myself wondering what the score is. I think it has been good playing on different sides because I know that I have to concentrate on my match and not worry about if she is winning or losing. As a team, we definitely try to pump each other up. I look around to see the scores of other matches and whether or not someone is up or down in their match, you always try to help them to stay in the match.
Christian- The hardest part about playing for a team is that you want the team to win so badly. You know that winning your match will help the team, but it is also about supporting your teammates and helping them through their matches as well as getting through yours. There is a fine line between focusing on your match and seeing when your teammates need some support to get through their own matches. You have to be able to find a median between yourself and the team.
20. If you were on an island and you could only have one meal, only listen to one song and spend your time with only one person for the rest of your life, what and who would you pick?
Catrina- My meal would be candy orange slices. We basically live off junk food and probably do not have the best diets. It is not a meal but everyone that knows us, knows that we love candy. My song would be “Here Without You” by Three Doors Down. It makes me think of all of the people that I am missing. It is also the song that we shared with our older sister when we left home. The person I would spend my time with would have to be Christian. We have spent the most time together. We are just never apart, and I think that if we had to be apart it would never work. I don’t think that I could live without her.
Christian- I think my meal would be chopped steak from the Waffle House. My nickname in the team is Chops because we went to a Waffle House at 3:00 a.m. once, and I ordered chopped steak. We don’t have Waffle Houses where I live, so I didn’t know you were supposed to order waffles. My song would be “You’ve Got the Music in You” because it would give us something to dance to on the island! My person would be Catrina. I would have said my parents but now that I am here at Notre Dame, I go to Catrina for everything.
Bonus: What are you looking to accomplish, as athletes here at Notre Dame and what are your career goals in life outside of Notre Dame:
Catrina- My top goal is to win the NCAA championship as a team and hopefully in doubles. Our goal in college is to add to the team as much as possible. I want to be all that I can be in a team setting. Career wise, I would like to try to play professionally. When I take that as far as I can go, I will still have a Notre Dame degree, and that is just as rewarding as professional tennis.
Christian- The biggest goal as a team is to win the NCAA championship. It is a tough goal but I think that with the depth and talent of our team it is possible. Winning the NCAA doubles title would be the icing on the cake but I want to be able to fill my role on the team as best I can. I want to be supportive of my team members and I want to be there for them on and off the court. Once we are done with college, I would like to play some professional tournaments. That has been our goal since we started playing. I want to try to succeed in everything that I do and to be the best person I can be.