The BYU men’s tennis team has a 36-0 record over the past four years in the WCC's mountain region. This flawless record didn’t come easily. The team puts in hours of practice each week, which takes a toll on their bodies and their equipment. “The guys hit the ball really hard, so they wear down really quickly," said Coach Brad Pearce. The shocking truth is how many tennis balls the team actually goes through in one year. Coach Pearce said he orders 40 cases at the beginning of each season, which is about 3,000 balls.
Now that the tennis balls have arrived for this 2014 season, the team is ready for the upcoming competition. Coach Pearce is looking to the team captain, Francis Sargeant, to lead the group. Sargeant is the No. 1 player on BYU’s team this year. Before coming to BYU he was ranked No. 1 in the UK for the under-18 division. “One of my goals was to be as highly ranked as possible and it just so happened that I was doing well enough to get ranked number one,” said Sargeant. Coach Pearce added: “We want him to set the tone in practices and during match play in terms of work ethic and intensity."
Sargeant also tries to make an effort to be a role model to his teammates off the court because the majority of them are freshmen. “If they have any questions about schooling or anything away from the tennis court they can come to me,” he said.
Andrey Goryachkov is expected to be the No. 2 player this season. He will also be looked up to by the younger guys because he was in their shoes just last year. “When I came last year I didn’t understand a lot of stuff on the tennis court. Now I’m just prepared much better and ready to go.”
Goryachkov is from Russia, so the language barrier was very hard for him at first. The cultural barrier, however, is something the majority of the team is learning to adjust to, since there are only three players from America on the current roster. There are three guys from Australia, two from the UK, one from South Africa, one from Russia and one from Mexico. Coach said meshing all of these cultures and accents was a process, but they’ve learned how to communicate and work together as a team.
Now with Sargeant and Goryachkov leading the team, Coach Pearce hopes to continue their successful record and train the new freshmen to be the future leaders of the team.