Scholar Athlete: Victor Valente
From the moment Victor Valente picked up his first racket, his family knew he would be a victor in tennis.
That racket was a present his father gave him when he was 3 years old, but Valente said he garnered an even more valuable gift from his parents—a strong work ethic.
“I have to honor my parents—especially my dad. He never said to me, ‘You have to be like that.’ But the ways that he showed me… are [what made me say to myself]: ‘I cannot be less than that,’” Valente said.
Diligence and tennis would actually be the reason why Valente had the chance to cross the globe from Brazil to Atlanta, Ga., and have the opportunity to get an education at Georgia State—something Valente strongly appreciated.
“[In Brazil], either you go professional or go study. There’s no chance to study and play sports at the same time,” Valente said.
Valente came to Georgia State without understanding much English. In his first semester of freshman year, he said he got a B+ in World History class because he “couldn’t understand the professor.” However, once he grasped the language, he didn’t cease to obtain “As” in all his classes, despite having to juggle between school and tennis.
“I have to plan ahead,” Valente said. “It’s all about time management. If you look forward and see there’s a competition or there’s a practice, you cannot procrastinate.”
Once he got the rhythm going, he didn’t hesitate to take on a more difficult challenge— the Honors College.
“I joined because of the opportunities the Honors College has—contacts with different advisers, different connections that you can have and internships,” Valente said.
According to Valente, he joined the Honors College along with his Brazilian friend Lucas Santa Ana, who’s also his roommate, teammate and competitor when it comes to comparing GPAs.
“We’re always together in our room, so we always kind of start challenging each other. I never want to be behind [him]. Our GPA difference is 0.01, so we feel bad when we have a bad grade because we always like to succeed together,” Valente said with a laugh. “It’s a good form of measurement. The standards are really high when you’re with someone who’s always getting ‘As’ or ‘A+s.’”
Despite their rivalry in academics, the Brazilian duo got to compete together on the court in doubles for Georgia State this year, finishing with a 19-4 overall record.
In singles, Valente dominated. Not only did the men’s tennis team obtain the Sun Belt Championship this past spring, but the senior earned All-Sun Belt First Team Singles, First Team Doubles and All-Tournament Team honors.
Though his success on the court is more notable, he places school as a top priority too.
“I always have to succeed in both parts… because my scholarship depends on the sport but at the end of the day, I have to think about my life too,” Valente said.
To undoubtedly further his accomplishments after graduating from Georgia State, Valente has been awarded a $7,500 NCAA postgraduate scholarship, making him the first male student from Georgia State athletics ever to do so.
This prestigious scholarship is not the only way Valente has made history at Georgia State. His final No. 41 national ranking, earned alongside Santa Ana, is the highest season final doubles ranking in school history.
Managing his workload and tennis isn’t easy, though.
“During the season, it’s really difficult… not only because of the difficulty of classes, but it’s the workload. Sometimes I look ahead of time to see how many hours I have. Sometimes I just sleep less to complete everything I have to do.”
That is why after a long year, he took a well-deserved summer vacation in the beaches of Brazil and visited his family before his last semester of college.
“Even though I’ve been here for four years, at the end of the semester, I start to miss my family and it’s always nice to see them,” Valente said.
Valente said he would love to return to Sao Paulo after college. The colossal city provides him with a plethora of opportunities for Computer Information Systems majors.
However, he said he will always remain thankful and preserve close links with his friends at Georgia State and never forget Atlanta.
“I can say I have friends in every continent now,” Valente said with a grin.