Head coach David Roditi, in his second year of coaching the Horned Frogs, said that although he loved his team last year, the opportunity to coach a team made up entirely of his own recruits would make this season very special.
Seniors Paul Chappell and Daniel Sanchez are the only returning players and are joined by nine new players on this season’s roster. The team has six American players and five foreign players, all of which are either freshmen or transfers. Roditi said he was very adamant on energy and liked the energy the transfer athletes brought.
The TCU men’s tennis team began its season Wednesday with a 4-3 victory over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in the indoor facility at the Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center. Freshman Nick Chappell, younger brother of Paul Chappell, said he was initially attracted to TCU because of his older brother. Although the siblings had never played on a team together, Nick said he enjoyed the competitive dynamic between Paul and him.
“We always get into it competing-wise; he’s always my toughest critic, besides myself,” Nick said.
Roditi said although it was unusual for a freshman to start at the top of a team’s lineup, Nick was one of the team’s best players.
Junior JT Sundling, a former USC Trojan, also joined the team this spring. The California native earned two championship rings with the Trojan tennis team but made his way to TCU for a change of scenery.
After coming together in the fall, Roditi said the team participated in “team bonding,” where team members came up with what they felt were “team virtues” they would emphasize throughout the season. The team ultimately decided on passion, courage, selflessness, belief and trust.
Sanchez said that a combination of this year’s virtues, the team’s preparation, hard work in practice and determination would be what could take the team to the NCAA Championships for the 20th time in 22 years.
“It’s my last semester, and I love to play tennis,” Sanchez said. “And I will do everything possible to play my greatest.”