Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

The bond of Alabama men’s tennis goes beyond the courts

CW / Hayden Hutchison
Alabama men’s tennis players during a match against Arkansas on Mar. 22 in Tuscaloosa, AL

Eight players. Seven countries.  

“The experience here is about tennis and they come here because of tennis, but everything we do every day and everything that we experience every day, it’s very little about tennis,” head coach George Husack said. 

With just one player on the roster from the United States, the team has had a unique experience of learning from each other and overcoming challenges from the beginning of the season.  

The lone player from the United States is junior Zach Foster, who is from San Antonio, Texas. While his experience may not have been what he expected, Foster says his experience has been fun. 

“It’s definitely been an interesting experience for me, but it’s been a lot of fun,” Foster said. “I’ve gotten to learn about so many different things about so many different cultures.” 

Foster highlighted one of the challenges at the beginning of the season was getting used to how each player communicates. 

“The one challenge I would say is getting to understand the different types of humor and learning about the nuances with other cultures,” Foster said. 

One way the team and coaches have overcome challenges is being intentional about building personal connections with one another. 

“We spend a considerable amount of time having the guys do stuff away from the courts,” Husack said. “My assistants and I bring each player to lunch … so we’re just hanging out with them, learning more about who they are, and the players are learning about us.”  

One challenge players face is being a long way from home. But Husack and his coaching staff found a way to honor each player’s home country. 

“It’s important to me to have something for them that reminds them of home,” Husack said. “They have the country of where they are from hanging in their locker and on the nameplate of their locker is a little flag for them.” 

Junior Enzo Aguiard, from Melbourne, Australia, says that the cultural differences are the reason why the team has such a close bond. 

“At the start, it was a bit hard to relate to one another, but I think the differences brought us together because we are all super good friends now,” Aguiard said.  

“We all have different lifestyles and behaviors, but at the same time, we are all such good friends, so it’s nice to see,” sophomore Yair Sarouk said. “I just love the idea. It [uniqueness] was a big reason why I came here,” Sarouk said. 

The bond between players that forms outside of the sport translates onto the courts as well. With multiple different backgrounds, Alabama uses its diversity to its advantage. 

“It gives us a broad view of the world,” Foster said. “I grew up playing in U.S. tournaments, so it’s good to see these guys from all different places with different game styles.”   

“What comes onto the court is the great bond between us, and that comes from all the laughter and good emotions from off the court,” Sarouk said.  

Although each player has a different background both on and off the court, competitiveness is what bonds the team on the court. 

“They all have different views of tennis, and they have all learned from different people, but in the end they’ve all learned to compete, and that’s the language that everyone speaks,” Husack said. 

Aguiard says the most important thing he has learned from this season’s team is the different perspectives he has gained. 

“It’s really important to see the world through a different perspective,” Aguiard said. “Even just to see how people live and take their day differently, I think it’s really important just to see different things.”  

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