By AnnaGrace Hale | Sports Writer
At No. 3 in the nation, Baylor men’s tennis is stacked with talent. Among that talent is junior No. 4 Adrian Boitan playing at the top court. This season he made history being Baylor’s first athlete to achieve 17-0 on court one in the regular season.
“He’s the ultimate competitor,” head coach Micheal Woodson said. “You see him play close matches, he wins close matches because he has the confidence in himself and the ability to put his best tennis out on the court under pressure. That, I think, [is] what separates him from his peers.”
However, this success didn’t come overnight. Behind the scenes, Boitan has been putting in the work for the last four years as a Bear by continuing to grow and learn from season to season.
“I think he’s just maturing,” Woodson said. “It’s been a process for him understanding that the work that he put in three months ago is what he’s putting out on the court today, it’s not what he did yesterday [or] what he did this morning. That’s the reason why he’s winning today. It all stacks and he’s really figuring that out.”
The Romanian holds multiple winning singles records over the past four seasons, with 21-6 in 2021 and 9-5 in a shortened 2020 season, but this year he seemed to reach a new level of play. This season something seemed to click.
“I feel like I am just an overall better tennis player right now and more mature on the court and off the court,” Boitan said. “I’m just more disciplined.”
He said his experience with the Romanian national team at the Davis Cup in March was influential in his game this season. He had the opportunity to play against top international players in this tournament such as Spain’s then-No. 17 Roberto Bautista.
“That was kind of life-changing for me because I played against a guy who was top 15 in the world and who’s been on the tour for 10 years or more probably,” Boitan said.
Additionally, this exposure to professional play allowed Boitan to experience that level of play firsthand. He then implemented his findings in his game at Baylor.
“What [the pros are] doing really well, it’s the small things,” Boitan said. “They just know what they’re owning. They use what they’re owning in the big moments really well and they executed really well. They are just really disciplined and they do not try to do more if they don’t need. They’re just really smart in their game, so that was really life changing for me because I felt it, I saw it and now I’m trying to apply it.”
Boitan’s goal is to play professionally and Baylor has allowed him to gain experience to do that. He said his success this season on court one is a credit to Baylor’s great program and the support of the team this season.
“It’s just a testament to the culture that our head coach Michael [Woodson] has built here. All of us just love competing for each other,” Boitan said.
Now with the regular season over, Boitan looks to the postseason. Even though he dropped his first duals match on court one in the Big 12 Championship, he has big plans for the rest of Baylor’s matches. Boitan refuses to settle for less than bringing a national championship trophy back to Waco.
“That’s why I’m here,” Boitan said. “I don’t want to settle for the final or final floor or something like that. That will be an underachievement for me.”
Boitan and the Bears await the NCAA Championship, which begins on May 6. Baylor will find out its seeding during the NCAA Championship selection show that will be announced at 6 p.m. CT on Monday on ncaa.com.