By Alec Martucci
Senior Kieren Thompson is attacking 2014 with vigor, as he embarks on his fourth and final year on the Arizona men’s tennis team.
In being named captain for the first time in his career, Thompson has always seen himself as one of the leaders of the team. To him, the title is a compliment, even though he is already well-respected in the game of tennis.
Born and raised in Brisbane, Australia, Thompson started his athletic career on the soccer field, only until the day his father decided to build a tennis court in the backyard.
“I just fell in love with the sport and went with it,” said Thompson.
He soon earned a spot on the high school tennis team, yearning to play at a high and competitive level.
In order to do so, Thompson needed to win and establish a name for himself. He soon began focusing on competing in tennis tournaments in Australia. At one tournament, he was approached by a gentleman who asked if he had any interest in playing in the states.
“At the start, I didn’t really want to do it,” Thompson said. “But then I realized that it’s definitely a great opportunity to study and continue playing tennis at a high level.”
Thompson had always wanted to further his studies, but was unsure about continuing his studies across the globe.
“I had never been to Arizona before, not even for a visit,” Thompson said. “Arizona offered a great opportunity to further my education, and I was really drawn to Eller and the marketing and management program.”
Eller stood out to Thompson for its recognition as one of the top business schools in the country for marketing and management.
In addition to the stellar academic reputation, Thompson was also drawn to the unique, enjoyable atmosphere the men’s tennis team had to offer.
“I heard Arizona had a big international team, consisting of a fun group of guys, who all together are described as an energetic team,” said Thompson. “And that’s me. I like to have fun on the court, while being in a competitive environment.”
Arizona offered exactly that, matching Thompson’s international style of play with the unique atmosphere and competitive environment.
When head coach Tad Berkowitz recruited Thompson, he knew U of A would be a great fit.
“With his fiery, Aussie mentality he’s continuously walking off the court with bloody hands, bloody knees, you name it,” Berkowitz said. “That alone shows his competitive nature.”
Berkowitz immediately noticed the leadership qualities and attributes Thompson possessed, and knew he wanted Thompson to lead his team in 2014.
“Simply put, he just gets it” said Berkowitz. “He’s a student athlete who continuously puts his team first, a great communicator, and a great student in the classroom.”
With his senior season ahead, Thompson is looking to solidify his name within Arizona’s tennis program. As a competitor, he sets his goals on making it as deep in the NCAA tournament as possible this season.
“As a team, we definitely want to make it to the tournament,” said Thompson. “We are a hard working team and can do a lot this year. Getting some good wins under our belt against some top ranked teams is our team goal.”
Thompson looks to lead his teammates in a positive, productive direction each and every day and leave a lasting impression on the Arizona men’s tennis program.
“When my career here is over, I want to leave my teammates headed in the right direction,” Thompson said. “I want them to compete, and look to progress every single day.”