Countdown: Puerto Rican Standout is a Xavier Muskeeter
by Ali Jones
, 5 April 2017
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Unlike many of his top-ranked peers, Alejandro Rodriguez-Vidal opted to train in Puerto Rico to hone his tennis. He spends his summers and winter holidays in his home in Orlando, Florida, and hits the courts sometimes, but he is mainly a product of Puerto Rican tennis.
Twice he played National Hard Courts
in Kalamazoo and once the National Clay Courts
in Delray Beach. Even with the limited play, however, Rodriguez has been able to maintain a five-star status.
An excellent competitor with a notable record, Rodriguez-Vidal entertained numerous coaches during the 2016 Kalamazoo Championships, and among those who expressed interest was Xavier Head Coach Doug Matthews.
Back at home afterward, the 18-year-old senior diligently and methodically studied his college choices. He prepped for his SATs, researched prospective schools, narrowed down his choices and made what he believes is the best decision for himself and his family.
A financial commitment from the school was important, as well as the tennis team and academic rigor. Xavier University fits the bill and more.
"Xavier was interested in me, gave me a lot of money, and when I visited, I just fell in love with the school," Rodriguez-Vidal recalled. "Everything was perfect. I loved everything, especially the tennis program and the players. I saw that the coach had a lot of interest in the players, making sure everyone improved and that everyone was doing their job."
That coach-player relationship was what impressed Puerto Rico's second-ranked senior. His goal in college is to raise his game to the next level, and that's exactly what he saw in the coaches. They pushed each player to be better students, athletes and men. The fact that the players responded positively was also remarkable to Rodriguez-Vidal.
"That's what I loved the most," he observed. "I visited other schools and sometimes the students didn't take tennis seriously or they were just not just committed to getting better, and not wanting to win the conference. What I saw at Xavier was that the players wanted to get better and to represent the school to the best of their abilities."
Proudly representing a team is one of Rodriguez-Vidal's greatest moments as a tennis player. He has had the opportunity to represent Puerto Rico in Davis Cup and Junior Davis Cup.