The Not-So-Genteel Side Of Tennis Is In The College Playoffs

“They quit before they can find out how good they could be,” Roditi said. “In college you get four years of safety.”

There are limits to scholarships, of course, and the competition is generally not as rigorous as on the pro circuits. Still, Roditi has been successfully selling the ideals of college athletics abroad for several years. His team has players from Scotland, England, France, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic. Jacob Fearnley, his top player, grew up in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Fearnley said he was small as a teenager and needed time to develop and get stronger. Turning professional after high school would have been foolish, he said. Spizzirri, the Texas star, has a similar tale. Both are now long, lean and powerful.

Fearnley said he has played low-level pro tournaments that were a snooze compared with what he has learned to deal with in college. During an early road match against Michigan near the beginning of his college career, the crowd yelled at him after every double fault and told him he was a hopeless tennis player. He crumbled then, but not anymore.

“It’s just noise,” Fearnley said the other day ahead of another showdown with Michigan. “That’s what our coach tells us. You learn the only thing that matters is you and your opponent and what’s happening on the court.”

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