Fresh off signing his Letter of Intent to play tennis at Virginia Tech, All ACES interviewed Jason Kros on his transition to the collegiate game, navigating the recruiting process and a bevy of other subjects:
On the motivating factor to sign with Virginia Tech
Their engineering program. And I love the guys on the team. They are a lot of fun to be around. [Head Coach Jim Thompson] is more like a student than a coach. He is really close with us.
On the team’s prospects for next year
I think we are going to be really good. Our number one is playing very well and all the way through five we have players that were in the top 25 as juniors. We are around 30 in the country right now and we can push for top 20.
On the fierce competition in the Atlantic Coast Conference
It is not easy, especially with Wake Forest and Florida State. It is no walk in the park. But I look forward to playing against some of the best guys in the country.
On Jim Thompson’s run of eight consecutive NCAA tournament appearances
When I was there, he made it very easy to believe that I would be stepped up another level. And I think that is what he has done with everyone on the team. And it is because of that he has had very consistent results.
On whether he would prefer playing singles or doubles
It does not matter to me. I enjoy doubles more. It is a faster game. But there is something exciting about being out there all by yourself in singles.
On his experience at JTCC
I have been transformed here. It started two and half years ago. I came in and I was very small. Very thin. I did not have a good base to my game. I was looking at Division III schools. About a year into my training, it started to turn around with the help of [Director of Tennis Vesa Ponkka]. And now I signed with a top 30 Division I team. A lot of Vesa’s initial influence was technical. Working on strokes and footwork. Once we were solid there, he did a lot on the competitive side. He built off of my work with [former JTCC coach Chuck Kriese]. Working on staying focused. Keeping my head in every point.
On his advice to a sophomore or junior on the recruitment process
Stay focused. It is so hard. I have made my fair share of mistakes in matches and I have seen players lose offers due to those mental and physical lapses. They lost a lot of money from good schools. I am very proud that I managed to stay focused the entire time. You know that there is always someone watching. It is difficult to keep them out of mind. But if you forget about everything, then it is hard to recognize the fact that you are being watched by someone who controls the next four years of your life.
On his decision to stay within the state (he resides in Fairfax, Virginia)
At first the only thing I wanted to do was go to California. I lived there before I moved to Virginia. But then it became a fact that I would be going somewhere that I do not know with people I do not know. Blacksburg is four hours away. If you think about it, that is close. I know a group of my friends who are already bent on attending Virginia Tech. And there is something to say about playing for the state.