May 19, 2014
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue women's tennis' Daniela Vidal has been named the Ohio Valley region's Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA)/Arthur Ashe Jr. Collegiate Award for Leadership & Sportsmanship winner. Vidal is one of 12 regional award winners, who along with at-large nominees at the discretion of the National Awards Committee, that will now be considered for the National ITA/Arthur Ashe Jr. Collegiate Award for Leadership & Sportsmanship honor.
Vidal has tallied a 64-40 mark in singles and a doubles record of 63-28 through three seasons at Purdue, but was forced to have a shortened junior campaign. The Maracaibo, Venezuela, native learned mid-way through the 2014 season a stress fracture in her lower back would send her to the sidelines. This left the Boilermakers without their top singles player and part of their No. 2 doubles team with half of the grinding Big Ten schedule remaining.
A strong leader doesn't go down with an injury. Even though Vidal couldn't play, she contributed in other ways at every single practice and match. She had pain, but there was no way she wasn't going to be out on the courts with her team. Vidal's ability to see what her team needs, whether she is cheering her teammates on or taking a coaching approach, has made a tremendous impact.
"She leads by example every day with her work ethic and passion for tennis and our team," head women's tennis coach Laura Glitz said. "The thing that impresses me most about Dani is the fact that she always puts the team's needs before her own. Her selfless behavior makes Dani one of the most likeable tennis players I have ever coached."
Vidal's role as a leader extends beyond the white lines of the tennis court. She is a one-on-one mentor to a fifth-grade student through IMPACT. Each week Vidal visits her mentee and has found a rewarding relationship that benefits not only the student, but herself. Vidal has also been involved with numerous youth reading initiatives and of course, tennis programs.
All of the opportunities Vidal has found as a student-athlete at Purdue have made a profound affect in three short years.
"All of these experiences at Purdue have made me grow not only has a tennis player, but most importantly as a person," Vidal said. "I am even more appreciative of what kind of life I have. Being able to give back and leave a mark in a child's life is simply all the reward I need. I am so grateful for the opportunity to study and play tennis at Purdue and be able to give back to the community that has given me so much."
The Arthur Ashe Jr. Collegiate Award for Leadership & Sportsmanship honors Arthur Ashe and the vision that he embodied of the importance of education, sportsmanship and leadership. Tennis opened the door of higher education for Ashe. Tennis and college offered him a springboard into a life of vast achievement, first as a world-class athlete, then as an educator and international humanitarian.
In order to be nominated, an individual must have been in their junior or senior season with tennis, scholastic and extracurricular achievements. The complete list of regional award winners can be found here.