When the University of Chicago women's tennis team plays No. 4 Williams in the NCAA DIII Team Championship Quarterfinals, it will be one of the last times fourth-year Tiffany Chen takes the court as a Maroon. Chen has been the only fourth-year on the No. 9 Maroon squad, leading the team to an 18–4 record this season.
A two-time Second Team All-UAA and three time UAA All-Academic selection, Chen played her fourth season as the No. 4 singles and No. 2 doubles with first-year Alyssa Rudin.
Doubles play is really where Chen stood out throughout her career, going 15–5 this year with Rudin and going 63–42 in doubles in her four years in Hyde Park. Additionally, Chen went 15–8 in singles this season and 64–41 in her career.
Chen has a unique relationship with her doubles partner Rudin, given the age difference between the two. That never slowed down the duo though, as they quickly learned to play with each other. “It's definitely been bittersweet playing with her in my first year and her last year,” said Rudin. “I remember we were paired together in the first practice of winter quarter and we both immediately knew our games and our personalities would mesh well. Since then, I've absolutely loved playing with her as her calm balances out my fieriness and she's constant when I'm streaky.”
Chen has also been a vital part of the Chicago women’s current postseason run. In the team’s NCAA Tournament Round of 16 match against No. 38 Gustavus Adolphus last Sunday, Chen teamed with Rudin once more to secure an 8-5 victory. Chen then turned to singles, where she split sets with her opponent before the Maroons advanced to the next round.
Chen’s impact on the team over the past four years is more than just on the court, however. As the only fourth-year on a very young team, a lot of responsibility fell to her. When the younger players struggled with inconsistencies and transitioning to the college game, it was Chen who helped them with whatever they needed, including getting bubble tea.
“She is an awesome leader for the team, providing the knowledge and expertise we need and helping soothe our nerves, especially us first-years, when we are worried,” said Rudin about Chen, who is sometimes called “Toof” by her teammates. “Off court, she's been a great resource, helping us with classes, restaurant suggestions, and frequent bubble tea trips. I can't say enough about how great she's been this year and how much the team and I will miss her presence.”
Chen’s mother, Judy, has been almost as much of a constant for the team as Chen herself after going to almost every match the Maroons competed in.
Originally from Hinsdale, IL, Chen will be staying in the city of Chicago after graduation to be a discretionary trader at the Gelber Group, a proprietary trading firm. In her four years in Hyde Park, Chen was also involved with the Women's Athletic Association (WAA), Smart Women Securities (SWS), and served as editor-in-chief of Spoon University, an online food publication.