BERKELEY – CalBears.com caught up with senior Alice Duranteau to chat before the Golden Bears headed to Charlottesville, Va., for the ITA National Women’s Team Indoor Championships. The Paris, France, spoke about her senior season, her interest in the medical field and other topics.
CalBears.com: How is your senior season going so far?
Alice Duranteau: I’m really happy about it. At first I was a little nervous, because it’s hard to think that it’s your last year. You have all these responsibilities being a senior. But it comes pretty naturally, speaking to the freshmen and sharing my experiences. Knowing it’s my last year, I’m able to enjoy it a lot more and just really focus on the present. I really love it so far.
CalBears.com: What kinds of advice to you give to the freshmen and the other young players?
AD: I remember when I first came to Cal; the hardest part was managing my time, dealing with injuries and school. With school you need to use all the resources you can, like tutors, going to office hours. With managing your time, you have to be very, very organized if you’re at Cal, because there are so many things happening. All the classes are hard and we have a crazy schedule with tennis. And also when we come up to big matches, it’s very important to tell them how important those matches are, what it is to play Stanford at home, for example, what’s been the tradition, so that they can kind of have an idea of how big the event is and what it means to us.
CalBears.com: What did you do on your winter break?
AD: I went back to France and the first week went on a ski trip with my family in the Alps. And then I went to Bordeaux to see my boyfriend and then back to Paris. It was really nice to see the snow and spend time with my family.
CalBears.com: Was that a good break, right after the fall’s tournament season and before the spring’s dual-match season?
AD: It’s always a good break especially before a season that’s so intense. It’s pretty hard because it’s pretty short. You don’t even have time to get used to home, and you already have to leave. But it gets you fresh and ready to go when you head to the spring.
CalBears.com: You’re an integrative biology major, and you want to become a doctor. Do you want to go to medical school in the United States?
AD: I’m not sure if I want to do med school here or back in France.
CalBears.com: Once you’re in medical school, will you have much time to play tennis?
AD: This summer when I didn’t play a lot of tennis, I realized how much I loved it, and I realized, “Oh my gosh, this is my last year,” so I’m really thinking about life without tennis. That’s actually really tough for me to think about.
That’s why my plan was to maybe graduate in the fall so that I could play a whole spring of tennis before I deal with med school. So then I could just have an idea of what it is like to just have tennis in your life, and see if it’s something that I can’t live without. Or maybe it’s an opportunity for me to close the door on tennis, and tell myself, “I did everything I wanted with tennis – I played as much as I could – and now I’m ready to move on.”
CalBears.com: Do you want to become a surgeon?
AD: That’s definitely my biggest option. Choosing between tennis and med school is going to be really hard, because I’m passionate about both of them. But if I do med school, my ultimate goal is to become a pediatric surgeon. When I was 16 I was sure I was going to become a surgeon. But I know surgery is one of the toughest specialties, so I’ll have to work really hard.
CalBears.com: Your parents are both doctors as well.
AD: Yes, and in most of my family, I know of one uncle who’s not a doctor, and he’s probably the only one. I have every kind of doctor in my family. My parents met each other in med school, and now they’re very, very passionate about what they do, and that’s very inspiring.
CalBears.com: Do you have any pediatric surgeons in your family?
AD: No. And at first I was thinking it would be too hard for me to be a pediatric surgeon because to me it’s worse to see a child suffer than an adult. But then I did tennis camps, and I realized how much I like interacting with kids. It was so fun to be with kids, so then I realized I’d like to save the lives of kids more than adults. That’s why I’d like to go into that now.