Diverse group paces N.C. Wesleyan men's tennis

By Jessie H. Nunery

Sports Editor

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The United Nations is headquartered in New York City, roughly 500 miles north of N.C. Wesleyan’s campus in Rocky Mount.

The Battling Bishops’ version of the U.N. is a traveling circuit of men’s tennis players who represent five different countries and as many languages.

N.C. Wesleyan, which recently wrapped up its sixth consecutive USA South Conference regular-season title, begins its postseason run this afternoon when the USA South Spring Sports Championships begin in men’s tennis.

The top-ranked Battling Bishops will play No. 8 Averett at 1 p.m. today on the N.C. Wesleyan campus.

For a group of foreign-born players and a first-year coach from Ecuador, producing a winning brand of tennis is made even more special by their international bond.

“We’re a big family,” N.C. Wesleyan coach Andres Amores said. “We get to learn different cultures and put it all together to get the best from each other.”

While each speaks English during practices and their native tongues at other times, the ingredient that binds them is tennis.

It has been another season of success for the Bishops, who have overcome preseason defections and a season-ending injury to last year’s No. 1 singles player, Robert Kjellberg.

N.C. Wesleyan’s closest conference match came in a 5-4 victory March 11 at Methodist. Six of their confernce wins have come by way of a shutout.

“The credit goes to all of the players,” Amores said. “They all have stepped up. They are all good leaders and have all done it together.”

Despite its talent advantage, Amores said N.C. Wesleyan has remained focused on each match and making sure that each player performs to their capabilities.

Confidence and trust are the pillars of the program Amores runs.

They are paramount in long-term goals of seeing N.C. Wesleyan hold a top 10 national ranking in the future and also of those short-term goals that include winning the league championship this weekend and performing well in individual and doubles play at the NCAA level.

There surely will be some overseas interest – as far as Russia – with the results.

“Everybody has to play well,” Amores said. “Some of the matches we played in, despite the score, were still tough. If we want to be successful, we need to focus on the things we’ve been working on and not the result.”

Jessie H. Nunery can be reached at 407-9959 or
jhnunery@rmtelegram.com


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