PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Warren an 'anchor' for Patriots
Janae Warren and the UT Tyler tennis teams will host Ozarks at 9 a.m. on Saturday in their final home matches of the regular season.
Janae Warren and the UT Tyler tennis teams will host Ozarks at 9 a.m. on Saturday in their final home matches of the regular season.

Friday, April 8, 2016
by Logan Sartain || @thelogansartain

TYLER – A slump is one thing, but typhoid fever is another. UT Tyler senior Janae Warren overcame them both.

Affectionately called “Nae-Nae” by her tennis teammates and coaches, what Warren lacks in size, she makes up for in perseverance.

“I may not be the biggest or the strongest, but I can stay on the court forever,” Warren said. “During one match the lights went out on us. That’s how long we had been playing.”

While overcoming a tough opponent on the court is one thing, Warren has proved this season that she is capable of shaking off adversity that most of us would never dream of. Doctors diagnosed Warren with typhoid fever after she returned from a mission trip in Peru.

“I had a 104 fever when I landed in the states,” Warren said. “It got so bad that I was having hallucinations and I dropped to something crazy like 83 pounds.”

Warren estimated it took her five months to fully recover from the illness. A setback such as this could be enough to make other athletes decide to hang it up, but for Warren it had the opposite effect.

“Janae struggled her sophomore year and then she got sick that summer,” UT Tyler head coach Chris Bizot said. “After that it would have been easy for her to say ‘I don’t need this, I’m done with this.’”

“It did have an impact on my tennis game,” Warren said. “That spring I was excited to be back, excited to play.”

Warren had her best season after returning from typhoid fever and has continued getting stronger on the court where she owns an 11-2 record this season as a senior and is 47-24 in her career as a singles player.

“Janae’s strength is her faith,” Bizot said. “She hung onto her faith and her family.”

Her mission trip to Peru impacted more than Warren’s tennis career.

“After the mission trip I decided to change my career path,” Warren said. “I saw a need for good dentists there. I’m now planning on going to dental school after graduation.”

On and off the court, Bizot described Warren as an “anchor” for the team.

“Janae is really special. She has worked really, really hard,” Bizot said. “It’s been special to watch her transformation in tennis and as a person.”

As a team, Warren said the Patriots are aiming for a conference championship for the third straight year. Personally, Warren’s goal is to have fun on the court.

“I know it’s not a tangible achievement, but it’s something that helps my game,” Warren said.

Through her hard times, Warren found a new appreciation for the game of tennis and her teammates.

“For me, my teammates are a big driving force,” she said. “Knowing that it’s not just about you, that it’s about more than just your match, is special.”