By Matias Soto | Contributor
Head men’s tennis coach Brian Boland and his staff believe that giving opportunities to foreign players is the way to build the culture they want in order to win a national championship.
Many college teams incorporate players from outside America and mix them with American players to build their programs. The Baylor men’s tennis team has seven players from outside of the United States and only one American on its roster.
Johannes Schretter from Austria, who graduated in May 2019, had some words of dedication after playing tennis for Baylor.
“Baylor made the biggest impact in my life so far and [winning] the Big 12 tournament last semester. It was the best experience that I could have as a player of the team,” Schretter said.
Sophomore tennis player Finn Bass, from Great Britain, said playing as a team was important for the growth of an athlete, especially in a sport such as tennis.
“Being a player as part of a team is very special and unique, especially in our sport, which is individual,” Bass said. “It’s a great thing to play for something bigger than yourself.”
One of the most prominent challenges international players face is the cultural disparity. When players arrive from another continent, they have to learn about a completely different culture than their own.
Bass noted, however, that those cultural differences also bring a pleasant atmosphere to the dynamic of the team.
“Everyone has different personalities and backgrounds, which makes our team so unique and close together,” Bass said. “We all learn about each other in different ways and make friendships that will last for a long time.”
Duke University transfer Ryan Dickerson, the only American player on the team, said encountering new cultures can be challenging because his foreign teammates bring new ideas that sometimes go against the typical American lifestyle. But at the end of the day, he continues to learn from them in many ways.
“I believe it’s a great learning experience — learning about different cultures and how people from all over the world operate on a day to day basis,” Dickerson said. “They bring different ideas and opinions that are sometimes against the American norm.”
The Baylor men’s tennis team deals with many challenges and adversities outside of the court during the season. They must establish a good relationship with each other to help each other with the daily struggles of college life. But the most important thing is to learn how to compete together to get the result that everyone wants in the end. And Baylor showed and is showing why it is one of the best college programs in the U.S.
Matias Soto is a junior tennis player from Copiapo, Chile.