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Knights of Calvin: Kyrus “Kai” Tsai

Photo by Rachel Kim.

Photo by Rachel Kim.

Photo by Rachel Kim.

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Year : First-year

Sport : Tennis

Major : Chemical Engineering

Could you introduce yourself?

“I’m Kyrus and I love tennis. I first started playing tennis when I was eight. I went to some summer camps with my dad but it was casual and just for fun. I started taking tennis seriously when I was 13 and haven’t looked back.”

Although Tsai participated in kendo, badminton and table tennis, he ultimately chose to focus on tennis.

What do you like about tennis?

“I love that tennis combines physical abilities with mental work. It’s not just power, but you have to think about points and strategy as well. It’s also a very personalized sport, so you pick your racquet and your equipment and you’re involved in every process”

Tsai has always appreciated challenges and it is evident in both his athletic and academic career. He was drawn to the challenges but also the creativity that is involved in math and science.

What has your sport taught you?

“It’s taught me how to adapt. Tennis is always very different. Every day you play is different and the people you play will always be different and the conditions will always be different.”

Tsai also said he learned more concrete skills through tennis. The pressure of balancing his athletic, academic and social life helped him to learn more about himself. Tsai was able to learn what his priorities were and what his limits were and how to work on those limitations.

Who’s your favorite tennis player? Why?

“Kei Nishikori. He’s one of the smallest guys on tour but he trains really hard to compete with those bigger guys and doesn’t let the physical aspect of tennis be a deterrent … He’s learned to play using his strengths.”

When Tsai first started out, his stature was on the smaller side. Having experienced the disadvantages of this first-hand has made him respect Nishikori all the more. “Height is a big factor because taller people have different angles and can cover more of the court.”

Do you have any last comments?

“Get ’em in the doubs. Go Knights!”

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