Soufiane Azargui: Blogging from Brown University

19 year old Soufiane Arzagui came to Toronto from Morocco at the age of 10 and a half. Over the next 7 years, Soufiane developed as an excellent tennis player winning singles and doubles titles at the national and ITF level as well as maintaining a high academic level at Bateman High School in Burlington. After six years at the ACE tennis Academy he fulfilled his objective of receiving a scholarship to an Ivy League school, Brown University in September of 2010.  Soufiane will be blogging us on a regular basis about his upcoming freshman season. Of interest to ONcourt are also his teammates Kendrick Au, team captain from St-John’s, Newfoundland, and Brandon Burke of Kingston, Jamaica, son of former Canadian Junior Champion and Davis Cup star and captain for Jamaica, Doug Burke. We touched base with Soufiane as he was returning to Providence after spending the holiday season with his mentor, Harry Fauquier, Canadian Hall of Fame member.

ONcourt: Soufiane what was the toughest adjustment you had to make as a freshman?

Soufiane: Well, without a doubt getting ready at the end of the semester for the two weeks of final exams was the most stressful time of my life. It is so different from high school because final exams are everything. You don’t get the chance to build up your grades during the semester, you get one chance and that’s it.

Playing on a team is quite a different concept as everything is for the team. It shows you how to put aside yourself and think of others. It really is a big responsibility if you understand the concept.

Finally, the day to day is quite hectic. Three times a week we have 6:30 fitness sessions, every day I have classes from 9am to 1pm, then lunch followed by a three hour practice, then dinner and studies.

ONcourt: Sounds like you do not have much fun?

Souf: Oh no, I have many friends in the dorm, my roommate is a hockey player from Pennsylvania who packs six or seven lips a day, Ah! Ah!, and the social life on weekends is very good with lots of frat parties and social events such as “Sex, Power and God” and the celebration of Ramadan.

Besides I really enjoy my tennis and won three different doubles titles in the fall as well as one singles event.

ONcourt: So what do you miss most?

First of all I miss my mom who has gone back to Morocco and then her home cooked meals. I miss my routine at ACE Tennis and all my friends there and in the Canadian tennis scene. It’s always nice to see some of them such as Will Reznik from Marist College, Conor Crowley and Nikolai Hill from Bryant University when we play against other schools.

Overall though I am very happy, and I love the life and people at Brown University.

To read the Soufiane’s blog, please click here.

A New Reality By Nicolas Pereira

This past week in the World Team Tennis ‘Bubble” I have seen the efforts to keep everyone safe while carrying on a team competition with around 60/70 players and coaches onsite. Counting organizers, officials, media, and support personnel are around 150 people trying hard to make this happen. I am very impressed by how the strict protocol has been handled and how everyone is invested in making this event a success, but The Open is a completely different scale of details.

ONcourt Interviews NGTL Co-Founder Yves Boulais

It does not matter that you get your rating playing locally or that you had spent an insidious amount of money playing the ITF junior tour tournaments. Your rating is your level of play (you get no bonus for playing more or playing far away). This allows us to break free of the ITF competitive structure potentially saving us time, money, and headache. We see this as a great opportunity to improve the logistic of our sport.

Brandon Burke (son of ACE President Doug Burke) Elected to WTA Board

As revealed in a recent news release issued by the WTA Tour – Brandon Burke has been elected to the WTA Board of Directors (to start officially in September). Oncourt got together with Brandon to delve a bit more into his background and to gain some insight into this wonderful appointment he has attained at such a young age.