Men’s tennis duo gels seamlessly on the court

Kyle Mullins, Sports Editor

Men’s tennis duo Nicolas Guillon and Ruben Vanoppen put on a performance at the 50th Southern Intercollegiate Tournament that would make you think they’ve spent hours of practice as a pair.

In reality, the exact opposite is true.

“We started to play doubles together at the conference tournament last semester,” Guillon said. “We didn’t practice, we just played the tournament together.”

Before each tournament, Coach Eric Hayes selects who he will pair up for the doubles tournament. Even without previous experience playing together, the two managed to put on a great performance and it was decided they would continue to be a pair this season as well.

It was for the best that they were left to play together. They rolled through the Southern Intercollegiate, even beating Georgia State in a third set tiebreaker.

“Our first two, three matches we kind of rolled through the opponents,” Vanoppen said. “On paper our first match was supposed to be the toughest. Playing a big school your first match is always nerve racking. It ended up they were more nervous than we were.”

Vanoppen said that to calm his nerves he reminds himself that every new point is a new opportunity, win or lose. Guillon said playing doubles with his partner helps him deal with the stress better than playing singles alone on the court.

Guillon specifically had much to be excited about with the tournament win.

“That was my first tournament that I won here,” Guillon said. “It was a pleasant surprise.”

Vanoppen said it was a great experience for him being able to play against so many good team’s in such a big tournament and take home the win.

“Me personally, I like to play doubles more than singles, so having a doubles victory is very nice,” Vanoppen said.

Vanoppen said their coach gives them just the right amount of pressure to prepare them for each tournament. It must be a mutual feeling amongst the team considering how well many of the players did at the most recent tournament hosted at Mercer.