TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Women's tennis will have four new faces for the 2013-14 season as head coach Jenny Mainz announced the addition of Carmen Blanco, Luicelena Perez, Erin Routliffe and Danielle Spielmann on Thursday.
"We are excited about Erin, Danielle, Luicelena and Carmen's arrival to The Capstone," said Mainz. "Collectively, they bring a wealth of experience to our program. They are very accomplished players that have much international exposure including Grand Slam background and Fed Cup representation. Their competitive culture and their championship mentalities will positively impact our Crimson Tide team."
Blanco, a native of Caracas, Venezuela, was a member of the National Team of Venezuela from 2007-13 as well as a member of the Fed Cup Team in 2013. She was ranked No. 1 nationally in the 12, 14 and 18 year age groups and achieved highs of 127 in the International Tennis Federation Junior rankings and 901 in the world in the Women's Tennis Association rankings. In all, Blanco reached the finals of 18 ITF tournaments from 2009-13, winning eight of those matches. She was named Athlete of the Year by several organizations, including the Escuela Nacional de Tenis, the Asociacion de Tenis del Estado Miranda, Alcaldia de Baruta and the Federacion Venezolana de Tenis.
Perez, from Naguanagua, Venezuela, was a member of the South American Junior Fed Cup Team in 2008 and 2009. In 2011, she won the national championships in singles and doubles and was runner-up in two ITF finals in Aruba and Curacao. Perez, a 10-time national champion in 18s and six-time national champion in 16s, earned Athlete of the Year honors five times. She was also ranked No. 1 for three years in Venezuela and achieved a high of 220 in the ITF international junior rankings.
Routliffe, who hails from Caledon, Ontario, Canada, has competed in all four junior grand slams and was a quarterfinalist in doubles at Wimbledon and the US Open in 2012. She was the U18 Canadian National Doubles winner, U16 Canadian National Singles and Doubles champion and also won singles and doubles titles at the Orange Bowl in U16s. Routliffe represented Team Canada on the Junior Fed Cup Team, finishing in second place. She has been ranked as high as No. 2 nationally in Canada, No. 17 in the junior ITF rankings and No. 591 in WTA international rankings.
Spielmann, a native of Riehen, Basel, Switzerland, attended Boca Prep International School, in Boca Raton, Fla., while training at the Evert Tennis Academy. She won ITF tournaments in Barbados (2012) and Puerto Rico (2012), was runner-up in doubles in Costa Rica (2013) and also reached the quarterfinals in doubles in Canada (2012) and the semifinals in singles in Brazil (2012). Spielmann is ranked No. 3 nationally in her age group and No. 28 overall in Switzerland. In addition, she achieved a high of No. 199 on the ITF junior circuit.
The four newcomers join the Tide's four returnees in rising senior Mary Anne Macfarlane, junior Emily Zabor and sophomores Maya Jansen and Natalia Maynetto.