Q&A with Stanford's Hilary Barte - Todd Holcomb - The Tennis Recruiting Network
Talking with Former Stanford Standout Hilary Barte
Originally Posted by simonsaystennis
Interesting how Barte did not even attempt a pro career, while so many other girls in her lineup are really making a mark in the rankings. Anyone know what she is up to now?
by Todd Holcomb, 27 June 2016
Hilary Barte, the No. 1-rated women's tennis recruit in the Class of 2007, won two doubles national titles and one team championship while at Stanford, where she played No. 1 singles and doubles for all four seasons (2008-2011).
A lefthander, Bartle had a combined singles and doubles record of 258-63, and she was an eight-time All-American.
Barte played professionally for less than a year. Not liking the solitary lifestyle of the tour, she returned to her native California and planned life without tennis. She thought she would be a doctor, like her father, and completed some post-graduate classwork at Southern Cal with that in mind, but she ultimately decided she wanted to get to work right away and not spend ten years in medical school.
Today, Barte has found a niche in the San Francisco area working as an associate at JLL (Jones Lang LaSalle), an investment management company specializing in commercial real estate. She was encouraged to join the company by Hugh Scott, the managing director and a former Stanford player himself who had mentored Barte previously in tennis as a coach and hitting partner.
"My job is to help companies with their real estate whether it's a three-person startup finding office space or a 3,000-person company looking for a headquarters," Barte said. "I really like what I'm doing. It fits my personality. It's very much a team mindset, and I enjoy coming to work every day."
TennisRecruiting.net talked recently with Barte about her new career and her days as a junior, college and professional tennis player - and how tennis prepared her for her profession.
In this question-and-answer, Barte gives some advice to today's young tennis players and explains why a career in real estate has been a great fit so far.
Questions and Answers
Tennis Recruiting (TR): How did you start playing tennis?
Hilary Barte (HB): I had two other siblings, and I just followed them to the courts and started playing. I was probably 6. My parents got me started. My dad tells me he once saw an old couple playing tennis. There was an old man tossing balls to an older woman. He said, "Wow, that's the sport I want to play. They can play their whole lives." There was no intention for any one of us to be good.
TR: What do you think hooked you to the game?
HB: I really liked the feeling of hitting a tennis ball cleanly. I played other sports, and that always kept tennis fresh, but tennis was my favorite. I enjoyed the mental chess match.
TR: What was your best memory as a junior player?
HB: There was a tournament in New Jersey that was international that I won when I was 17. That was probably my pinnacle. My brother and I traveled there together. The competition was really tough. I hadn't played a lot of ITF events, so that was one of the first. Being able to win that across the country - with my brother there - was incredible. [The tournament was the U.S. Junior International Hard Court Championships. Barte defeated Lykina Ksenia of Russia in the final.]
TR: What was recruiting like for you?
HB: It was really hard and hectic. It was flattering at the same time. Everybody makes you feel special. There are a lot of great schools out there. It came down to Stanford because of the world-class education and being able to play at such an amazing university. I loved the people on my recruiting trips and clicked with the coaches and teammates. [Barte also strongly considered Southern Cal and Harvard.]
TR: What's your advice for young players today who want to play college tennis?
HB: Before you're 15 or 16-years-old, it's not about winning. It's more about developing your game. Focus on that. Winning comes. Some people focus on being No. 1 in the 12s and the 14s, and that can stunt your growth as a player.
In terms of picking the right school, get to know the people you're going to spend time with outside the athletic realm. That was important for me. Some get locked into that athletic box, but even your teammates, that's a fluctuating circumstance. Spend time outside of athletics. Go to classes. Sit in and see what the student body is like. Are they studious? Are they on Facebook in class? Make sure you fit in with the student body.
[Barte also emphasized the role of parents. Her father, Felix, is a cardiologist. Her mother, Ophelia, is a psychiatrist. They are originally from the Philippines.]
I was really lucky that my parents didn't really push me. My motivation was mostly intrinsic. My father was always a guiding light for me. I remember the best thing my mom ever did for me. I came off the court after a really bad loss and I was visibly upset. She said I love you so much. Just knowing your parents love you unconditionally whether you play like a superstar or lose takes a load off your shoulders.
TR: What was your biggest thrill as a college player?
HB: Winning the team championship [as a junior in 2010] is at the top of my list. We were about the 12th seed. We were big underdogs. We played the No. 1 seed in the quarterfinals [Baylor] who had been undefeated all year. Coming together with those girls and peaking was amazing.
TR: How did the team suddenly start playing at a national-championship level?
HB: It sounds ridiculous, but we all had that feeling going into nationals that we could win it. We had an awesome month of practice leading up to it. We were all really jibing. I don't know another word for it. Our No. 2 singles player - Lindsay Burdette - played unbelievably well, and so did Mallory [Burdette]. It was so fun being on the court watching them peak at this pivotal time. We all just fed off that. [Stanford defeated Florida 4-3 in the championship round.]
TR: You later won a pair of NCAA doubles titles as a junior and senior with Lindsay Burdette and then Mallory Burdette. That had to rank up there, too.
HB: That was pretty incredible, especially that they're sisters. That helped the adjustment [to a new partner]. They have similar games. I played with Lindsay for three years, and by the end of that, I could close my eyes and know where she's hitting it or where she'd be. Winning that doubles title was the pinnacle of all your hard work. That was Lindsay's senior year, and I know she really wanted that doubles title. It was pretty special to play for four years and meet the teammates that I did.
TR: You were not a prototypically great doubles player. You weren't real big and didn't have a huge serve. How did you have so much success in doubles?
HB: I had pretty good hands. I was blessed with that. And I had good partners obviously. Doubles just went slowly for me. I felt like I saw the ball quickly and could see two, three shots ahead of time.
TR: Did you want to play pro tennis?
HB: I always wanted to play pro. I won my first pro tournament when I was 18 in Mexico. That led to playing in the U.S. Open [qualifying of singles, main draw of doubles as a junior player]. Those are special experiences. But for me, pro tennis was pretty tough. It's really solitary. There's not a lot of interaction off the court. People have their own teams of trainers and coaches. I found that pretty difficult. I remember at the U.S. Open, sitting in the locker room, and Samantha Stosur and Serena Williams had lockers next to me. I'm thinking this is the absolute best of the sport, but I'm not happy. I realized I had to change gears.
TR: Where did you go from there?
HB: I wanted to be a doctor since I was a little girl. I went back to L.A. and did classes to prepare me for medical schools. I did some research at UCFS and met some amazing people in the medical field. But when I completed that, I went through the process of realizing what becoming a doctor entailed and seeing it would take ten years before I would be practicing.
TR: What do you like about your job at JLL?
HB: My favorite part is meeting so many different people, especially here in the Silicon Valley. They are very smart and very ambitious, and for the most part very humble and gracious with their time. Learning what they do and how we can be a resource is a great way to learn about business in general. Scott is a great mentor and coach. That's been a big plus. That would be my advice to everyone - really try to find a good mentor or coach. That goes a long way.
TR: Where has life as an athlete helped you?
HB: One is competition, being a fierce competitor. When I as 12 there was person Peg Connor, a Prince rep, who told me you're not very big and fast, but you have this quiet confidence. It's the best compliment I've ever gotten. That goes for work, too, having that drive and going about your business. Just having that will to succeed.
Another is fortitude - realizing that losing is a part of the game and life. Not everything is going to go your way. In a psychology class at Stanford, I remember people talking about different life challenges, and I realized that almost none of these kids had ever been rejected. They'd gotten into every school they applied to. Losing and being able to learn from that and adjust and improve come naturally to most tennis players. It's what you have to do. It's a unique skill that translates into business.
And maybe the biggest point that I took away from sports was self-awareness, knowing my strong points and weaknesses and realizing how to maximize those with what I had been dealt. That was my favorite part of tennis. There was always something to improve on and strive for. What can I do better today? It was never a chore. I knew that if I could maximize my potential, I could do some really cool things.