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.