By Harper Mayfield | Sports Writer
In a banner year for Baylor athletics, one of the university’s all-time greats has gone relatively unnoticed. Tennis star Constantin Frantzen has made his mark on the Baylor program, leaving his name in prominent position in the school’s record books.
Frantzen, now in his fifth year with the program, is Baylor’s all-time leader in doubles wins. He’s no slouch on the singles court either, as he is undefeated in singles matches this season. Talents like Frantzen are rare, and head coach Michael Woodson knows just how special his star player is.
“His lasting impact on the program will be immense,” Woodson said. “Not just for the success he had on the court, but the way he conducted himself throughout his time here. His growth, his development, his leadership — he’s just done a phenomenal job of putting his mark on the program and really moving this program, [regardless] of the success we’ve had on the court, in a direction that Baylor alums, Baylor supporters, donors can be truly proud of.”
Frantzen came to Waco by way of Augsburg, Germany, just an hour from Munich. Growing up as a tennis player, Frantzen fell in love with Baylor’s team the first time he saw them when his brother was streaming the 2015 NCAA tennis championships.
“[My older brother] was watching the 2015 NCAA semifinal,” Frantzen said. “It was Baylor against Virginia. I was 16, 15 at the time, and I looked at his computer and said ‘What is that?’ I was like, ‘This place is unreal.’ The tournament was at Baylor at the time, and I was like ‘Wow, that’s so cool. I want to go there.’ He said, ‘You have to be really good for that,’ and I told him that I’m going to make it.”
Make it he did. To that same tournament too. Frantzen reached the NCAA postseason as a sophomore and a junior and is well on his way to having a big showing as a senior. He won’t be there alone though, as he’ll be joined by his doubles partner Sven Lah. Frantzen and Lah have gone on a tear through their competition this season, with just six losses, five of which came to top 10 teams. For as different as they are physically, the pair makes for a dynamic opponent on the court.
“There’s a mixup in our games,” Frantzen said. “I’m a big guy, and he’s a smaller guy. He returns really well, has really good hands at the net and overall plays really well through the baseline. I have a game style which is really aggressive and am also good at the net, and I think that the combination makes us really good.”
As far as Frantzen might be from Augsburg, he’s never that far from his family. His younger brother, Christopher, is in his second year with the tennis team and lives with his older brother.
“They love spending time together,” Woodson said. “They’re living together right now. They just enjoy being around each other and supporting each other. [Constantin] is just such a good big brother. It’s just amazing to see him look out for Chris, and Chris has developed faster as a result of Coni.”
Looking at the rest of the season, Baylor has a hyper-competitve Big 12 to make their way through if they want a shot at a postseason championship and even further down the line, an NCAA title. For Woodson and Frantzen, that’s well within reach.
“We expect Coni to continue to bring his best and get to make sure that the guys continue to remain as one team and one unit and continue to love each other like they have and build on that,” Woodson said. “The positive energy and the commitment that he brings to this team really does draw all of them in. If we can channel that, then it’s a frighteningly talented group.”
Fans can see Frantzen and the team in action again in the Big 12 championship on Sunday and Monday, as they chase their second consecutive postseason title and 10th overall.