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May 16, 2017

Why We Love College Tennis

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With the final weekend of the 2017 NCAA Team Championships approaching, there's an extra buzz in the air.  Who will raise the trophies this year?  From veteran teams looking to repeat, new faces ready to make their mark, doubles players, singles players, and fans galore, the intensity runs high. Win or lose, though, at the end of the season, lifelong memories have been made, amazing friendships cemented and the common love for the game of tennis deepened.  

So, what makes college tennis so great?  We discussed this with a few coaches recently and there’s one common theme: TEAM. 

Claremont McKenna Head Men's Coach, Paul Settles: "When junior players arrive on a college campus, they've only known the "me-against-the-world" mentality of our sport. College tennis changes all that and helps them understand how their success is tied to that of their teammates." 

Stanford Head Men’s Tennis Coach, Paul Goldstein: “For most on the tennis journey, it’s an individual sport in every way – all the way from junior tennis tournaments to life on the pro tour.  But, in the unique setting of college, players play for a team, their university, their teammates – they play for much more than themselves.  Well beyond the results, at the end of the day, you are still part of a TEAM – you train together, travel together, and push each other to get better every day.  Many find their teammates become some of their best friends.  Personally, I have many memories from my days as a player, from junior national championships in Kalamazoo to the semi-finals of the US Open and competing as a top 50 player in the world at all the grand slams.  But, my best memories are playing college tennis at Stanford, with my best friends, part of a team, playing for the university, and winning four natior nal championships together.”

Duke Head Men’s Tennis Coach, Ramsey Smith:  "I have been around tennis my entire life and love every level of game. But I REALLY love college tennis. Tennis is innately an individual and selfish sport. It is one on one, occasionally two one two. That is part of the beauty of the game, having to figure out how to beat that one person on the other side of the net.  In junior tennis (for the most part) you are battling out there by yourself, and it’s the same on the professional tour. But college tennis is all about the TEAM, and the comradery and team chemistry is nothing like you experience in any other level of tennis. Don’t get me wrong, it is still individual to a degree where you have to beat the person on the other side of the net in your match, but you get to do it in a team atmosphere and dual match format. You win and lose as team just like other sports. Growing up I played all different team sports: basketball, baseball, soccer. I naturally loved the team aspect of all those sports and getting to work together with your teammates to reach a common goal. I think that is why I fell in love with college tennis and improved so much once I got to college.  I would encourage all young tennis players to dream big and aspire to play college tennis. Go to a local college tennis match and experience a dual match. As Wayne Bryan loves to say, “Attending one well-played college tennis match is better than 30 day of practice”.  

So, whether your season is already over, it's coming to an end next week, you're a junior player with dreams of playing college tennis one day, or simply a fan, we are right there with you cheering you on.  Go Team!  

Check out www.ncaa.com for more info on the NCAA Championships and follow the action!  

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