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Where Are They Now?
Conversation with UConn's Sam Sutherland
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Stability has been a watchword of UConn tennis. Glenn Marshall, who now serves as Director of Tennis, has overseen the tennis programs for 21 years. Michael Louis '04 took over as head coach of the men's tennis program prior to the 2013-14 season.

UConn Standout Sam Sutherland
One of Louis' teammates as a player at UConn was Sam Sutherland '05, who a standout from Tampa, Florida, who served as team captain his senior season. Sutherland trained at Saddlebrook Tennis Academy before moving on to the college ranks, and he was a regular player in the Husky lineup during his college career.

Harry Cicma of NBC Sports, who served as the commentator for the live webcast of the 2014 NCAA Tournament, recently got the chance to talk with Sutherland.

 

Questions and Answers

Harry Cicma (HC): What did you enjoy the most about playing D-I Tennis at UConn?

Sam Sutherland (SS): It was a true honor to be recruited by and play Division I tennis at UConn. As a fellow member of the Big East at Rutgers, you understand the commitment it takes to balance playing high level D-I tennis and juggling school work. I was very fortunate to have a great supporting cast of teammates and a head coach in Glenn Marshall that fought for his players.

My experiences at UConn gave me a great foundation to help me as a business professional in New York City, and I wouldn't trade it for the world. Go Huskies!!

 

HC: You spent most of your high school years training and living away from home at Saddlebrook Resort in Wesley Chapel Florida, with some of the world's best ATP pros, how was that experience?

SS: Saddlebrook was another once-in-a-lifetime experience and I can't thank my parents enough for investing in my future. Not many young tennis prospects get that opportunity, and I feel extremely fortunate. Aside from the great tennis, I met a lot of life-long friends that I still talk to on a regular basis. My junior and senior seasons our team made it to the Florida State Finals.

 

HC: You competed in USTA New England and Florida juniors. What are your best memories from junior tennis in both sections?

SS: My best memories are of traveling to all the tournaments with my mom, Caroline. She was always my rock, and I can't believe I didn't give her a heart attack with some of my matches... and antics. I also met a lot of great lifelong friends - like you Harry - and our fellow Florida Gator brother Ryan Sherry.

When In New England making the doubles finals of the boys 16's New England Open was cool. My partner and I had match point, and it still hurts, but that was a great run. Winning several matches at the Florida Open and being a Top-30 ranked player in the state was great in that section.
 

HC: UConn's basketball tradition is second to none. How did that inspire you as a tennis player?

SS: There is a certain toughness about Jim Calhoun and now Kevin Ollie, and they instill that toughness in their players. I can honestly say UConn basketball is my favorite sport, and they inspire me to this day. I'm actually probably a little too obsessed with it.

As a tennis player I would just think about how much preparation and dedication guys like Ray Allen put into it. I mean the guy does his warmups six hours before tip-off. Nobody else does that. There is something so pure about the way they compete as student-athletes - just for the love of the game and the University - not for money. On the other hand, UConn does have a long history of producing millionaires in the NBA. (Laughs)

 

HC: What advice would you give a junior tennis player looking to play college tennis?

SS: Stick with it, set goals, and - most importantly - have fun. Tennis is the most mentally challenging of all sports, and it's so easy to get discouraged. Very few matches go exactly as planned, and you need to make adjustments. If you have a bad point, put it out of your mind and focus on the task ahead. As long as you compete your absolute hardest, win or lose you have reason to be proud.

 
 

About Haviland Tennis Academy

We are honored to have Haviland Tennis Academy as the presenting sponsor of our Where Are They Now? article series at TennisRecruiting.net.

Haviland Tennis Academy is a new junior academy located in Greenville, S.C. We have a beautiful new tennis center that boasts 4 clay courts, 3 fast hard courts, and 3 slow hard courts. Additionally, all courts have lights for night play.

Our facility is dedicated to our junior program, unlike academies that are run out of membership clubs or parks, so there are never members occupying courts or getting in the way of our training sessions. We pride ourselves on having one of the most elite coaching staffs in the world, as our coaching staff is comprised of former Top 10 world ranked juniors, Junior Orange Bowl Champions, Junior Grand Slam Champions, College All-Americans, and formerly-ranked - as well as currently-ranked - ATP pros.

We offer all this while remaining one of the most affordable academies in the United States. Students at Haviland Tennis Academy can attend academy training sessions for 3 hours a day 6 days a week, have weekly private lessons, and get tournament coaching several times a month for a fraction of what it costs to attend just the academy training sessions at the majority of academies around the country. With top-notch coaching, a collection of world class players to train with and spar against, and extremely affordable prices, Haviland Tennis Academy offers everything an aspiring player needs to take his or her game to the highest levels.

Connect with Haviland Tennis Academy on Facebook and Instagram - or on their website.

 

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More "Where Are They Now?" Features

7-Aug-2015
Conversation With Former NCAA Champion Amanda McDowell
Atlanta native Amanda McDowell was the NCAA women's singles champion in 2008 as a sophomore. Injuries dogged her during the final two years of her college career, but she had two more productive years at Georgia Tech and made a nice go of it on the pro tour, getting as high as No. 450 in the world before calling it a career in 2012. Todd Holcomb caught up with McDowell - who has since moved from the tennis court to the court of law.

6-Jul-2015
Kopinski Twins Finish with Illini and Take to the Circuit
Twins playing college tennis is certainly not unusual. The Bryans made their mark on Stanford and the Thompsons at Notre Dame, just to name two. What is out of the ordinary is twins playing for the same school, but not on the same team. Melissa and Tim Kopinski just finished four strong years on the University of Illinois' women's and men's teams, respectively. They sat down to talk about how they ended up playing for the Illini and what's next for them.

29-Jun-2015
Q&A With Former Vanderbilt All-American Chris Groer
In 1996, Chris Groer became the first All-America tennis player in the history of Vanderbilt University. He was also Vandy's first Academic All-American in tennis. Tennis remained a constant in his life - playing on the ATP Tour for a few years and now playing recreationally at a high level. We caught up with Groer to talk about his college tennis memories and his thoughts on the college game and its players today.

 
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About Harry Cicma

When it comes to college tennis, Harry Cicma is your man. Cicma covers tennis and other athletic stories for NBC Sports, writing articles and producing video segments.

He is co-founder and host of World Tennis a weekly tennis show on NESN, and host of of Tennis Live Radio's College Corner.

Cicma competed as a junior in USTA/New England and went on to play college tennis at Rutgers University. As a professional, Cicma competed at the ATP Newport tournament and the San Jose Siebel Open. He reached a career-high #75 in the ATP doubles team rankings and #1262 in the ATP Entry System.

In media, Cicma has run the gamut. He has worked for NBC, CBS, ABC, ESPN, FOX Sports Net, the Tennis Channel, and World Team Tennis. Cicma has announced NCAA sports as well as the US Open Tennis Championships on both TV and radio.

 
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