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Countdown: California Girl Gabby Andrews Chooses UCLA

Blue chip senior Gabrielle Andrews seriously considered another top program thousands of miles away, but late last year the two-time junior slam champion chose to complete the next phase of her tennis career closer to her Pomona, California, home when she verbally committed to UCLA.

Gabrielle Andrews has committed to UCLA
© ZooTennis
Making the decision on her 17th birthday last December, Andrews opted for the Bruins over the University of Georgia, where she had taken an unofficial visit last fall.

"I was obsessed with UGA for the longest time," said Andrews. "I heard it was a really good school, and my mom let me go on an unofficial visit in November. It was so pretty, so nice and everything. But the reason I didn't choose UGA was I wanted to stay close to home, but not quite close to home. LA's about an hour, hour and a half away, which is a good distance."

Her parents, Mike and Evelyn, did not pressure Andrews to stay near home.

"They were supportive of me going to UGA, but I thought it over, and thought, yeah, I want to stay in California. It's where it's at," said Andrews, who lists driving for pleasure as one of her main leisure activities.

Andrews, who was No. 1 in her Tennis Recruiting class as far back as 2008, had been on UCLA's radar for many years.

"I think they were the first school to actually contact me," Andrews said. "They sent me a letter when I was like 11. I was like 'Mom, UCLA!' I checked out the campus and it's really pretty. I know [head coach] Stella [Sampras Webster] and [associate head coach] Rance [Brown] pretty well and I know and am friends with everyone on the team."

Andrews didn't fall in love with tennis at first swing, but once she began to connect with the ball at a family outing to a park, she was hooked.

"Literally the first two minutes, I was so done with the sport," recalled Andrews, who was 5 years old at the time. "I said, 'Dad, I'm not making contact with the ball. This is stupid; why are we even out here?' But then I got my first ball over the net, and I was like 'yes, this is what I want to do. We're going to do this every day.' I played my first tournament when I was 6, and we just kept practicing more and more and I got better and better at it."

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Page updated on Sunday, October 06, 2019
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