April 9, 2014
By Lauren Albertson
By Lauren Albertson
FRESNO, Calif. - The Fresno State men's and women's tennis teams are made up of student-athletes from all over the world that are brought together to find success on and off the court.
Of the 15 Bulldogs on the men's and women's tennis teams, 13 of them are international student-athletes. Both teams are comprised of players from 13 different countries- Brazil, Ireland, Egypt, Russia, Greece, Sweden, Chile, Germany, Scotland, Taiwan, England, India and the United States.
Playing in a foreign country, these student-athletes have an experience unlike all others. Senior Sam MacNeil from the men's tennis team was worried about coming to the United States from Scotland and venturing into a new culture.
"When you come here (the United States) you don't know anyone, so it's good to have the team here," said MacNeil. "At least these guys know what I'm going through."
MacNeil also believes that because of his opportunity to come to a different country and play the sport he loves while getting an education, the possibilities are endless.
"After this you feel like you can go anywhere," MacNeil added. "We feel like we can go anywhere and work and we'd be alright because we've done this."
Junior Aishwarya Agrawal (India) of the women's tennis team is making the best of experiencing a new way of life and culture here in the U.S.
"It was a major change," Agrawal said. "I'm so far away from my country and my family, but I guess my team is my family. They make it so much better, so I'm just enjoying it and having a good time. Getting to know them and getting to know their culture is fun."
The Bulldogs tennis coaches see the powerful opportunities their student-athletes have by coming to a new country and culture and gaining a degree and more experience in tennis. The Fresno State head men's tennis coach Evan Austin thinks the international experience is beneficial for everyone to expand their views on different cultures.
"I think for the student-athletes it's really beneficial to learn about guys from other countries and what they're upbringing was like and their viewpoint on different things," Austin said. "I think overall it's a good experience and can be very beneficial for student-athletes."
The head coach of the women's team, Ryan Stotland also encourages his student-athletes to see all of the benefits of coming to a new country to play tennis at the Division I level.
"You get a great education, you get the training to be a professional," Stotland said. "If you take full advantage of it you can do both in your career."
Cultures from all over the world are united by the sport they love to create the culture of what it is to be a Bulldog.
"I think it's good to surround yourself with as many different people as you can so you can have a different outlook on life and see their experience and how they view things," MacNeil added.
With talent and experience joining together from across the world, both the Bulldog tennis teams stand at 10-8 this spring and are finding success as regular season play is coming to an end. The men's team recently swept a three match home stand last weekend, while the women's team is currently ranked 74th nationally and concluded its regular season home play with an undefeated record to stand in first place in the Mountain West.
Fresno State is set to host the MW Men's and Women's Tennis Tournament from April 23-27 at the Sierra Sport and Racquet Club in Fresno, Calif.
"Catch the Wave"-- Stay connected with the Bulldogs on Facebook (fresnostateathletics), Instagram (fresnostateathletics) and Twitter (@FSAthletics) (@fresnostatelax).
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