A conversation with an Illini: Ross Guignon

By Kevin McCarthy

The Illinois men’s tennis team earned a share of the Big Ten title this past weekend after finishing the regular season 10-1 in the conference and are ranked No. 3 in the country. This week I sat down with senior Ross Guignon.

Kevin McCarthy (KM): Illinois men tennis: 2015 Big Ten Champions. What does that mean to you?

Ross Guignon (RG): That right there means a lot. We haven’t been crowned Big Ten champs since 2005. That’s something that me, Farris and Tim set out to do when we were freshmen.

KM: You just barely missed out on having a perfect conference record. Does the loss to Minnesota on Friday put a damper on the season?

RG: I’d be lying to you if I told you it didn’t. It definitely dampers it. It hurts. It was a devastating loss. That being said, we’re putting a positive spin on the situation and looking forward to this weekend, the Big Ten tournament. We’re hungry, and it’s time to show that we are the champions and that we can come out on top.

KM: Can this team win a national title?

RG: Absolutely. If we’ve got enough guys in the right mind set.

KM: What would that mean to you?

RG: I can’t put it into words. It’s been a vision, a dream — whatever you wanna call it — that we want to be national champions. If it were to come true, it’d be indescribable.

KM: Let’s have a little more fun now. What’s the difference between Ross on the court and Ross off the court?

RG: (Laughs) I honestly don’t know if there is one. I was going to say that at times I can be a little bit more crazy and outgoing off the court. But I’ve gotten my fair share of code violations on the court, so I don’t know how much of a difference there really is.

KM: What are your post-graduate plans?

RG: I’m still figuring that out. I’m interviewing at some places, considering playing some professional tennis, and I’m also applying to graduate school. I guess you could say I’m keeping all of my options open.

KM: What’s the one thing that you’ll miss most about the University after you leave?

RG: Honestly, I’ll miss the people. I’ve made so many great relationships. I’ve met so many people that I look up to. They’ve all set me up for great things to come in the future.

KM: What are you going to miss the least?

RG: Probably the smell of cow manure that drifts over to the tennis courts on Sundays.

KM: What are your favorite colors?

RG: Before I came to school, they were blue and green. Now, they’re definitely orange and blue.

KM: Did you know there’s a Twitter fan page for you?

RG: (Laughs) Yes.

KM: How does that make you feel?

RG: I guess I’m honored that someone would take the time to make the account. At times, it can be a little embarrassing. I still think it’s one of my friends just messing with me. But it’s cool. It’s funny.

KM: If it is some sort of secret admirer, does that creep you out?

RG: Well, maybe a little bit, but overall no. It’s social media. It’s all fun and games.

KM: Who’s got the cooler accent of your teammates? Aleks Vukic (Australia) or Farris Gosea (Wales)?

RG: Oh. I’d go with Vukic. Farris mumbles.

KM: Have you seen the movie/read the book Hunger Games?

RG: Yes, of course.

KM: So we throw all 12 of you on the team in a Hunger Games arena, who comes out on top?

RG: That is so funny that you ask that. We’ve actually had this conversation as a team multiple times. Of course we’ve never come to a full team consensus. But I’d like to preface this by saying that I’d put myself in the top three or four. But I don’t think I would win. We’ve got some tough dudes on this team. I would put my roommate and doubles partner Tim Kopinski at the top of the leader board.

KM: Is it his size? What sets him apart?

RG: The size doesn’t set him apart, but it’s certainly an advantage. He’s big. He can interact with people to make good relationships, but he’s enough to himself that he’s a bit of a mystery. Overall, I just think he brings the most to the table.

KM: You were born and raised in Kansas City. Were you heartbroken after the World Series last year?

RG: Absolutely heartbroken. Especially in the fashion that it happened: game 7. Bumgarner came in after pitching the night before and absolutely shut us down. Heartbroken, yes, but ecstatic that we made it that far.

KM: I’m a die-hard Cubs fan. You can relate to that pain, being a Royals fan. Any advice for holding out hope?

RG: Just when it does come, I’ll tell you that it’s so much sweeter that you’ve waited that long.

KM: Give me a BBQ place to go to in Kansas City.

RG: My personal favorite is “Jack Stack.” The “go-to” and my number two is “Oklahoma Joe’s.”

KM: I’ll keep that in mind. Thanks, Ross.

Kevin is a freshman in Media.

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