Story by Clara Firtos, Contributing writer
Men’s tennis does not just recruit homegrown players; they recruit players from around the world.
There are currently five players on the roster who are international students. They are: Lucas Braga, freshman from Niteroi, Brazil; David Schrott, freshman from Mannheim, Germany; Srdjan Trosic, sophomore from Novi Sad, Serbia; Marcel Ueltzhoeffer, sophomore from Oftersheim, Germany; and freshman Javier Villar from Madrid.
“It was a dream come true to get the opportunity to play college tennis in a different country,” Ueltzhoeffer said.
Schrott said coming to America to play tennis for Murray State was an exciting experience for him as well.
“At first, I didn’t know what to expect,” Schrott said. “It is very different from tennis in Europe.”
Schrott said there are different rules for scoring in the United States, but he prefers the rules here. He said there are more matches in a short amount of time than in Europe.
“Here, it’s an all-team competition, unlike in Germany,” Schrott said. “In Germany, you play for clubs and go to tournaments all by yourself without a coach.”
Ueltzhoeffer said in Germany, they have club tennis teams where the level of difficulty is fairly high. He said their system is similar to United States’, but it was never affiliated with education. He was recruited by former men’s coach and now women’s tennis coach Jorge Caetano via email.
“It was a great decision choosing Murray,” Ueltzhoeffer said. “I have great teammates with good team spirit and a coach with a lot of experience.”
Schrott said his favorite things about Murray State include the size, the campus and how nice everyone is. He said he would recommend Murray State to anybody who wants to play college tennis.
While playing tennis for Murray State, Ueltzhoeffer said he grew to appreciate his teammates.
“I have made friends with men who come from all over the world,” Ueltzhoeffer said. “They mean so much to me and they give me insight on their cultures and routines.”
Ueltzhoeffer said being a part of men’s tennis has been a great experience for him. He said he loves to travel, discover new things and enjoys being around people from different places.
Schrott said he traveled to the United States almost every year of his life for a couple of weeks at a time, and this made adjusting to a new environment easier.
“You could almost say I grew up learning about the American culture, so it’s nothing new to me,” Schrott said.
Both men said they are happy to be supported by their families even though they are so far away.
“My family is so important to me, they support me in saying how proud they are,” Ueltzhoeffer said. “They are always encouraging me to chase after my dreams and stick to my goals in life.”
Schrott said his family encourages him as well.
“My family is very happy for me. Of course we miss each other, but it’s such a good opportunity for me to be here,” Schrott said.
Both men are planning on playing tennis for Murray State next year. They are looking forward to next season and the OVC.