University of Iowa

In the news: Hawkeye tennis moves toward recruiting international players

February 19th, 2019
Iowa coach Ross Wilson watches his team during a men's tennis match between Iowa and Marquette on Saturday, January 19, 2019. The Hawkeyes swept the Golden Eagles, 7-0.

Iowa coach Ross Wilson watches his team during a men's tennis match between Iowa and Marquette on Saturday, January 19, 2019. The Hawkeyes swept the Golden Eagles, 7-0.

By Cody Smith, The Daily Iowan

The Iowa men’s tennis team has quickly become one of the premier tennis programs in the Big Ten.

The main reason is that head coach Ross Wilson has decided to look outside the United States for his players. Since becoming the head coach in 2014, he’s brought in 12 international players, most of whom have top-tier talent.

“The one thing about tennis is it’s different from a lot of the college sports,” Wilson said. “It’s truly a worldwide sport, and a lot of the talent is outside the States.”

This year alone, the Hawkeyes have seven international players on the roster and two American players. Their performances are a key to the Hawkeyes going 8-1 this season, their best start in the Wilson era.

Even so, just because the majority of the better players come from outside the United States doesn’t mean anyone can become a Hawkeye. They have to fit Wilson’s mold.

“It comes down to the fit,” he said. “You have to fit in here academically, you have to want to be a part of a team, and then you also got to have the ability to improve and be able to compete.”

Finding guys who can fit all these credentials can be difficult. Wilson routinely looks at the list of the International Tennis Federation top-1,000 juniors in the world each year. He then looks at the players from countries that have a lot of English speakers because of the difficulty of the English proficiency exam students must pass to be able to enroll here.

Read more...

Keywords 
Author