Interview with "College Tennis Today"
We have been very fortunate to get into contact with "College Tennis Today" editor and founder, Bobby Knight. Mr. Knight, while living in London, was very generous to take time and talk to us about his experience as a blogger and to give us better insight into the college tennis experience. Bobby has been one of the original bloggers to cover all aspects of college tennis on a daily basis.
How did you get into the world of tennis?
I started College Tennis Today in January 2015 after previously having written for a few different sites in the years prior.
What led you to blog about college tennis over professional tennis?
I’d always been a big tennis fan ever since I was a kid, and then when I was in college at Georgia, I got to see the best college players every year during the NCAA Tournament. The excitement of a close dual-match is as good as it gets and I wanted a way to convey that to others who hadn’t experienced it before. Before I started writing about college tennis there were only a handful of people that covered it so I thought there was an opportunity to fill that void. Once I created my site it took off pretty quickly because the college tennis community loved having a place to get info year-round, and I’ve done my best to keep the content current and relevant. While I like pro tennis, and pro sports in general, I’ve always been a bigger fan of college sports. I figured if I was going to spend the time and effort to write about something it should be about something I was really passionate about.
What’s one of the first things that people should know about college tennis?
A dual-match is unlike anything else you’ve ever seen. It’s non-stop action for 2 plus hours and you can’t beat the price (it’s free!)
Who is the best college player that you have seen player in your career as a blogger?
I’d have to say Steve Johnson because when you watched him play it wasn’t a matter of if he’d win it was by how much. A close second would be Somdev Devvarman because like Johnson he was dominant in his final two years at Virginia.
If you could sum up this college season in under 10 words, what would they be?
While some things change (men’s pecking order) others stay the same (Stanford women dominating at the NCAAs)
What is the biggest difference between college tennis and professional tennis?
Pro players are more consistent, don’t give away free points with a bucket of unforced errors, and have a larger arsenal of weapons. In college, players can grind out points against opponents that aren’t as talented but on the pro circuit just about everyone is as talented or more talented so unless that player has some weapons they are going to take on more losses than wins.
What is, or did you, have an opinion on the controversial calls that some college players were making during the NCAA championships?
Controversial calls in college tennis are nothing new and until the technology is in place to challenge a call I don’t see it changing much. Chair umpires set the tone for the match and if the players know that the chair won’t overrule a shot in a certain part of the court then it’s going to be a rough match. I’m sure some players call the lines closer than others, but in the instances with players such as Wake’s Borna Gojo, a few of his calls just happened to get caught on video - it was interesting that in both the chair seemed to agree with the call so either they had a better view or they just flat out missed the call.
How hard is it for a college player to transition to the professional tour?
I think the transition is extremely tough because the player’s support system is gone and there is no longer a safety net. Most of these players go from winning multiple matches a week to going weeks without a single win so that has to be mentally taxing. The expense to be a professional tennis player is staggering so there has to be realistic performance goals set in advance to keep from spending money that the player will never get back.
Has there ever been a college “super team” in college tennis?
I think several of the Virginia teams over the last 10 years could be classified as super teams because many were loaded full of guys that were at some point the top junior in the country. The 2013 NCAA Championship team had a former top 5 ITF junior playing at No. 6 plus a future NCAA singles champion that was sitting on bench. I’m sure many of Virginia’s practices were more intense than some of their dual-matches.
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