Sunday, April 10, 2011

Another African Inspiration

Nicholson is standout for Catawba College tennis.
After being pleasantly surprised with South African Dean O'Brien's thriller performance to clinch the win for Tech against UGA (the first win over the Dawgs in 23 years!), I thought of another African player that has inspired me with his play this season.  He is not a Yellow Jacket, but rather an Indian.  He plays for Catawba College, a smaller school in North Carolina, and has shined during his rookie season.  Freshman Matthew Nicholson from Kariba, Zimbabwe took a few minutes out of his day to answer several questions about his team and his overall experience in the States thus far.

Why did you decide to come be a student-athlete at Catawba College and play for Coach Childress?

“I was very impressed with how Coach Childress was quick to respond to my emails. He made me feel as though I was important and wanted.  The admissions department was on the ball as well and notified me right away when I was accepted.  Catawba also looked like it was a good school with a beautiful campus, and it has definitely lived up to my expectations.”

What was your most memorable moment this past season?

“My most memorable moment this season was clinching the match for us over Tusculum.  The score was 4 all, and I had to win my match to pull out the victory for the team.  I had lost the first set and needed to rally to beat the guy in the third.  It was great to get the win for my teammates.”

What are you going to work on for next year?

“I want to work on being more consistent and trying to get into better shape.  There were a couple of matches I think I could of won if I was a bit quicker and had better stamina.  I feel as though we have a very talented team, and if we all step it up a bit for next year, the sky is the limit for us.”

What is your advice for upcoming seniors that want to play collegiate tennis?

“Keep working hard at your game.  Play as many tournaments as you can get in contact with a lot of coaches.  If you work hard and are persistent, you will definitely find a team to be a part of.”  

What is your overall impression of the United States so far?
The culture is quite different than I am used to.  People are very friendly here and talk a lot.  I will be walking to class and people I do not know will smile at me or say hello.  We don't do that in Zimbabwe."

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