Fall Signing Week '16: Well-Traveled Gordon Returns Home
by Colette Lewis
, 11 November 2016
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Seventeen-year-old Michaela Gordon has traveled the world for tennis competition, playing all four junior slams as well as major events in Europe, Asia and Central America. Yet when it came time to select a college for the next step in her development, the blue chip from Los Altos Hills California found what she needed in her backyard, at Stanford University.
"It came down to Duke
and Stanford," said Gordon, who is No. 5 in the Tennis Recruiting Network Babolat Class of 2017 rankings. "Aside from those schools, I didn't really look anywhere else. I went on unofficial visits and both are amazing schools, obviously. At Stanford I really loved the campus, which I was really familiar with anyway. And when I talked with the girls on the team, I felt I fit in really well. I love all the girls on the team and that was a really important thing. The coaches were important as well. It was a really good fit for me, the perfect fit."
Gordon had not given much thought to college tennis prior to this year, but her academic interests and Stanford's reputation as a launching pad for a professional tennis career began nudging her in that direction.
"I thought it would be a really good life experience to have," Gordon said. "For me personally, it's very important that I go to college. And for Stanford, you can go for two years and then play pros and return, so that kind of helped my decision."
Gordon also was influenced by a blog written by two-time NCAA singles champion at Stanford, Nicole Gibbs, now a member of the WTA Top 100.
"I haven't talked to her, but I actually read a blog she wrote for the WTA about Stanford and how it was a good stepping stone for going on to the pros," Gordon said of this piece, published in May. "That was really helpful for me to read that and see her point of view on it. It really gave me some insight into what life would be like at school and how it helped her afterwards."
The reputation head coach Lele Forood and associate head coach Frankie Brennan have for preparing players for pro careers also played a major role in Gordon's decision.
"I know a couple of girls who have graduated from Stanford and are now playing on tour. Lele and Frankie both have a ton of experience with really top players, so that was a big thing for me. Tennis was a really big facet in my decision and I thought Stanford would give me the best of both worlds, a really good preparation for playing pros, but also a top-notch education. So for me, it was the perfect combination."
Gordon took the Scholastic Aptitude Test in January, exceeding the score required for admission on her first attempt.