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Gianpiero Placidi

Gian­piero Placidi is a freshman on the tennis team from Bournemouth, England.

How did you decide to attend Hillsdale? Has living in the United States been a dif­ficult cul­tural tran­sition?
Right, so I’m from Bournemouth — that’s around the middle of the south coast, about two hours from London. I was looking to come to America and got con­tacted by the Hillsdale tennis coach, came out for a visit, and thought it would be a good one to give a go. Aside from Hillsdale, I visited Chicago for a few nights so I haven’t really seen much of the U.S. I am going to do some trav­eling after this semester — go around to the big cities, see the main attrac­tions, visit the national places of interest. There are no major dif­fer­ences between the U.S. and home, just lots of minor ones — culture, food, people. It all feels quite new here; it’s obvi­ously very newly pop­u­lated com­pared to Europe. Cul­turally, sports are central here. It’s huge. It’s almost like it’s a religion, everybody’s so into it. Also the size of America is massive and basi­cally everyone drives, even at college, which was sur­prising.

Does the men’s tennis team have a primary goal it hopes to achieve by the end of the season?
I think the main goal is to make it to the con­ference finals at the end of April, and that’s a rea­sonable target. We have a decent standing right now. We are 3 – 1, and have won our last three matches. The next match is on Friday at St. Louis and we are ready to play tougher teams in the con­ference.

What advice can you give to someone who has never played tennis before but would like to pick up a racket for the first time?
You just have to give it a go. You don’t know if you’ll be good at it or like it not until you pick up a racket and try. I must say, tennis is a very dif­ficult sport. It’s not the most acces­sible sport. But, I think it’s still worth it to pick up a racket, and go try playing it for the first time. What do you have to lose? Also, I would like to encourage people to find out whenever we are having a match in the future. Most people have not nec­es­sarily watched too much live tennis and maybe after coming to a match they’d want to play them­selves.

Do you plan on con­tinuing your tennis career here at Hillsdale College or moving home to England?
Actually, this is my last semester. I will only attend Hillsdale for one year, because I am going back to England to study chem­istry at Imperial College London. I have enjoyed a great expe­rience in America with my time at Hillsdale, but I am excited to go back to England because I love chem­istry and this is a fan­tastic uni­versity and an amazing oppor­tunity for me. I’ve got at least four years there to get my Master’s degree. Then I’ll see where my career takes me — you can do so much with chem­istry. Right, and Imperial College London has a very strong sports program, so of course I will be on the national tennis team.