Meet ITA Rookie of the Year Brayden Schnur
by Colette Lewis
, 11 June 2014
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Eighteen-year-old Canadian Brayden Schnur didn't begin his freshman year at the University of North Carolina until January, but he had an enormous impact on the Tar Heels in his first five months in Chapel Hill.
Playing No. 1 singles and doubles, the Pickering, Ontario native led North Carolina to its first quarterfinal appearance in the NCAA Team Championships since 1992. Schnur went 19-4 in dual singles matches, going 13-4 against nationally ranked competition and 18-5 in doubles dual matches with sophomore Brett Clark. He was named ACC freshman of the year and later chosen as the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's National Rookie of Year
, earning All-America status with a final ranking of 13.
Prior to joining the Tar Heels, the 6-foot-3 righthander reached No. 26 in the ITF junior rankings, but his most notable results came last summer when he reached the final of one $15,000 Canadian Futures tournament and won another a few weeks later. He defeated compatriots Peter Polansky and Philip Bester in third set tiebreakers in the semifinals and finals to capture his first title, to secure a place in the ATP Top 600.
At the NCAA tournament last month, I spoke with Schnur about his decision to play college tennis, how he chose North Carolina, his experience there and his plans for this summer and next season.
Questions and Answers
Colette Lewis (CL): When did college tennis become an option for you?
Brayden Schnur (BS): When I was growing up it was always pro tennis, that was always in my mind, always what I wanted to do, it was my dream.
The only way I started thinking about college tennis was because I wasn't a Top 10 junior, I wasn't doing very well in the junior slams, and I didn't have the consistent results like other juniors did.
In my final year of juniors, I sat down with my coaches and we just talked about a plan. It looked like they weren't going to be able to continue my training at the National Training Centre in Canada, so we looked for a solution for the next fall and we thought about college tennis.
That's why I signed so late in the year, because I had just started thinking okay, college tennis is a great level and my coaches thought it would be a great place for my game to pick up and continue, to train with some great players and great coaches and get a lot of matches in.
That was something I had been struggling with in the juniors, having consistent matches during the weeks, so it was a great opportunity. I seized the moment and signed with North Carolina. I was kind of like I could get an education at the same time, so it's not a terrible situation.