Freshman Eduardo Roldan, from Mexico City, shown practicing. Photo courtesy of Eduardo Roldan.

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A TCU first-year tennis player moved to the U.S. at the age of 12 to study and to train at Saddlebrook Preparatory in Pasco County, Florida. The Mexico City native wanted to pursue his dream of competing at the American collegiate tennis level. His family moved with him, making the transition to the States slightly more comforting for a pre-adolescent.

“It was hard leaving Mexico at first but I realized that everything was for my own good and that I was going to do something better in my life,” Eduardo Roldan, the now 19-year-old Horned Frog said. He said the hardest thing about moving to the U.S. was getting used to the language, but other than that the transition was easy because the cultures are not so different.

“When I was born there was a tennis racket waiting for me as a gift with my mom, so I have always grown up with the sport,” Roldan said.  

As a high school tennis player, Roldan improved his skill at Saddlebrook by competing against other top ranked juniors at National and International ITF and USTA tournaments. The school’s enrollment is comprised of students from over 20 countries, which exposed Roldan to a multicultural environment. 

TCU has grown the total international population of students on campus over the last five years at an average rate of 10.7 percent, according to College Factual. As of the 2017 school year, 650 students from over 90 countries are enrolled. Of those students, 11.1 percent are Hispanic/Latino.

Carolina Olivares interviewing freshman tennis player Eduardo Roldan. Photo by Riane Cleveland.

Although Nationals are competitive all around the world, the sport of tennis is more competitive in the United States, especially at the collegiate level, Roldan said. The Horned Frogs finished the 2016-17 season ranked No. 8 nationally and have four returning letterwinners.

Roldan played extremely well at the ACU Invitational Walmart Open in Abilene, Texas Sept. 22-24, winning his first college match. He was paired with teammate, Alex McNeel, and defeated Zach Miller and Clayton Pope of McMurray 8-4 in their first doubles match. In the Flight 1 Singles Roldan defeated Lane Adkins 6-3 and then 7-5. Although Roldan took consecutive losses from Abilene Christian University players, Niko Moceanu, 6-3 and 7-5 and Jonathan Sheehy 6-4 and 6-2, he learned from this experience. “It served me good because I realized the level that I have to play at in order to win,” Roldan said.