Feb. 23, 2006
ROUTE FSU: FIRST STOP…DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA
This is a special edition feature that we like to call Road Trip: FSU Style. Throughout the 2006 season, Seminoles.com will visit each player’s hometown (and country) to find out what life is really like back at home. Seminoles.com correspondent and SID intern Ryan Liss felt exotic this week so he decided to sit down with FSU senior men’s tennis player Chris Westerhof who hails from Durban, South Africa. Chris was a great choice considering it is “Chris Westerhof” week around Florida State athletics. The senior sensation needs just one more victory to become the Florida State all-time career doubles leader. He will attempt to break the record on Saturday against Alabama. Match time is slated for 1pm.
Player Quick Facts:
Name: Chris Westerhof
High School: Crawford College
Parents: Neil and Jacqui
Siblings: Michael (24)
Pets: Two Boxers (Max and Diesel)
A Little Information on Durban:
Location: Durban is adjacent to the Indian Ocean in the east, and is bordered by the Drakensberg Mountains in the west and to the south lies the Atlantic Ocean
Attractions: The Golden Mile, Kings Park Stadium (Home of the Sharks Rugby Team). Durban is also the host site for the 2010 World Cup
Time Change: Durban is six hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time Zone
Exports: Gold, Diamonds, Platinum
“…I once caught a shark that weighed about 150 pounds.”
– Senior Chris Westerhof as he brags about his fishing skills
The 4-1-1 On Chris Westerhof
Spend just a minute talking with the lone senior on the FSU men’s tennis team, and you can tell he’s not a Tallahassee native just from his accent. Chris joined the tennis team in 2002 after being ranked as high as No. 1 in the South African Junior Rankings, and even placing as high as No. 34 in the world. His success in the sport of tennis has led him to doing much traveling than just between Tallahassee and Durban. Chris has made trips as part of the junior tournament to events such as the Orange Bowl Classic, the French Open, the Australian Open, and even Wimbledon. With his proximity to the ocean, he loves to spend his free time back home fishing, and plans on returning to Durban following his graduation from FSU in December.
Q & A With C-Dub
What do you do for fun back home?
Play golf with my friends, I go fishing a lot as much as I can. I like to hang out. I live really close to the beach, so that’s where I spend most of my time.
What is your favorite memory about Durban?
I really enjoy going back during the summers, I go back every summer, and get away with my family or friends. I go fishing with my brother. I once caught a shark that weighed about 150 pounds. I’ve caught some big game fish, which is what I mainly fish for. I also like to play golf and just try to relax as much as I can.
How did you get involved in sports back home?
My parents played quite a bit of sports. I played quite a bit of sports growing up from when I started elementary school all the way through high school. Tennis just fell into place. My brother started playing and I just followed him. Tennis isn’t exactly the biggest sport in Durban. It’s popular, but it’s not one of the main sports.
Describe your hometown for us.
Durban lies on the Indian Ocean, so its got a warm ocean. There are big waves, which is good for surfing or body boarding, whichever you prefer. It’s kind of hilly, so we got quite a few hills, but they’re not too large. They really go straight up and down. It’s really humid as well, sort of like Tallahassee. We do get tourists during the tourist season, but they mainly visit Cape Town. We get people from all over in Durban. Compared to Tallahassee, Durban is more laid back. Tallahassee is all about the college, where at Durban, there is more than just a school.
When you go back home, are you looked at as a celebrity?
No. Not at all. My friends know I go to college and play tennis, but no one views me as a celebrity. They all know I’ve done well playing tennis in college, and I work really hard, but a celebrity, no.
What do you miss most about your Durban when you’re at school or traveling?
I miss my family and my friends, mainly. I miss the relaxed lifestyle as well, but that’s just because when I’m home, I’m not in school taking classes. I’m able to have a lot of free time to do the things I enjoy doing, and that’s why I like going back whenever I can. It’s about a 17 hour flight, but it’s worth it, and I get used to it.
If you’re a travel agent, how do you get people to want to visit Durban?
Basically, Durban has a lot of things to offer. We have beautiful beaches. There are game farms about an hour away, which is pretty close. We have plenty of wildlife, and there are a lot of things to do. I can’t think of much else. I guess I’m not much of a travel agent (laughing).