Spartan Chau Truong learned to play tennis alongside her older sister and their father, who had competed in national ping-pong tournaments in their native Vietnam. They started out hitting tennis balls against a wall in the family’s backyard. “My dad really wanted us to play a sport but ping-pong wasn’t very popular in the United States,” says Truong, whose two sisters both play tennis. “Now tennis is a family sport.”
Left, right, left
Truong writes, eats and throws a ball with her right hand. She remembers how her dad was puzzled the first time she picked up her racket with her left hand. “You might think that I can still play tennis right-handed, but it’s really hard for me,” she says. “In terms of sports, I don’t know which side is more dominant, but I’m a lefty for ping-pong and tennis.”
To prepare for a match, Truong says she has to eat a good breakfast. She has to have coffee—and has the mugs to prove it. “My team knows that when I have coffee it’s definitely going to be a good day,” she says, laughing. “Coffee makes me giggly and extremely energetic. Most of the time it gets me super pumped.”
Size doesn’t matter
Tied for third place for career wins at San Jose State, Truong has 105 combined singles and doubles victories. Clearly, the 4’10” powerhouse doesn’t see her height at a disadvantage. “As long as I give 100 percent—110 percent—I know I’ll be successful,” she says. “There are good players who are shorter, like me. It really comes down to how you think and how you play.”
“We’re awesome,” says Truong of her team. “We try hard and have really good chemistry. Since I’m the oldest on the team, to see how well we’re doing is a good feeling. We’re going to make a difference for San Jose State.”
What’s next, doc?
A senior in biochemistry, Truong is a three-time All-WAC honoree and San Jose State Scholar-Athlete. She stays organized and has a plan for after graduation: more studying—for the MCAT. She’ll take the exam and may volunteer at a hospital to get ready for a career as a physician.