Knights of Calvin: Rodrigo Castellanos Vaca Guzman


Photo courtesy Calvin Sports Information.

Name: Rodrigo Castellanos Vaca Guzman

Year: First-year

Sport: Tennis

Major: Business

“Hi, I’m Rodrigo, and I am the king of FIFA at Calvin College.”

Rodrigo is from Tarija, Bolivia. He plays tennis for Calvin, and he lives on the first floor of Beets-Veenstra.

When did you start playing tennis?

I started when I was eight years old. When I was a child, I tried many sports, such as soccer, basketball, and track and field, but none of these sports I liked. When I tried tennis, however, I just loved it. When I first played tennis, I fell in love with the sport, and I fell in love with it more and more.

What made you come to Calvin?

I always liked the education in the United States, so my goal was always to come to the US for my college education. I also liked playing tennis. Back home, I had to decide between studying and playing tennis. What I really liked about the US was that you could play tennis as the representative of the school. I came to this area because my uncle lives here in this area. I applied to many universities around here, but when I tried Calvin, I loved it. I fell in love with the tennis team and the people and the academics. My uncle also attended Calvin many years ago. Although Calvin is a D3 school and doesn’t give out athletic scholarships, I decided to go to Calvin because I loved it.

How do you feel about this tennis season? What kind of goals do you have for yourself or your team?

This coming season will be tough. There is good competition in our conference, but our goal is to win the most matches as we can, and go to nationals. We also want to win the conference. But it is really tough. We compete against some really good schools. But we are just going to give it our best. My personal goal is to win most of the matches, and do well as a team in both singles and doubles.

What is your favorite tennis brand, and why?

I like Babolat. I used to use Wilson equipment, but I switched to Babolat because I tried the racquets and I liked them a lot. Also, my favorite player uses Babolat, which is also one of the reasons I switched.

Who is your favorite tennis player?

Rafael Nadal is my favorite player. I like him a lot because I think he is one of the greatest players in the world. He has won many grand slams, and I like the way he plays. He gives a 100% of him on the court. He never gives up. He is the best example of persistence, as well as good sportsmanship. I like how his strength is consistent.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

I don’t ever want to stop playing tennis. One can always play tennis. When I’ll be done with school, I’ll have less time to play. But I’ll still play in the weekends and in free time with friends or play by myself. It’s part of my life. It’s kind of hard to envision.. I would like to stay here in the US, although it depends. I want to stay here and get some work experience here and work on my English. That’s what I came here for.

How does playing tennis affect you in other parts of your life, such as academics or other areas?

I think tennis affects me in a positive way. For example, there are sometimes when I just have to study and i can’t play. Other times, I have practice when I have to do homework and study for tests. But tennis has taught me time management. Also, when I eat, I know I need to eat healthy in order to play better and to have more persistence on the court. Tennis has also taught me to work in teams, make more friends, and be more social.