March 29, 2011
Arizona Athletic Media Relations
Although 24-year-old Andres Carrasco can be recognized by his sense of humor in his dead-on impersonations of top tennis players around the world, whether it's mimicking their walk, clothes, mannerisms, or tennis moves, the Barcelona, Spain native is a UA standout on the University of Arizona men's tennis team.
Carrasco is a YouTube phenomenon. His witty, detailed video impersonations of professional tennis players, taped in Tucson, began as a joke in Spain and have now been watched by 92,467 viewers on the web.
"Andres Carrasco tennis imitations on YouTube is soooooo good try watching on mute see if u can guess the players."
Andy Murray, currently the fifth-ranked tennis player in the world, at the time when the videos were released tweeted that on his Twitter account shortly after the video was posted. Carrasco says every professional tennis player is aware of his impersonations.
The 5-foot-11 senior, just like the subjects of his impersonations, has his own quirks as a tennis player. The fourth-year player is the captain on the 2010-11 men's tennis team and will be competing in his last two home matches of his Wildcat career this weekend when they take on California and Stanford.
"The coaches expect the best out of me and they expect me to be a leader," Carrasco said. "I like it. I don't feel any pressure."
"The second day everything changed, once I saw the campus and met the people on my team. Today, I think it is the best place in the world I can be."
--Senior Andres Carrasco
On the tennis courts, it is rare to hear him called "Andres" or "Carrasco." Instead, Carrasco is known as "Nacho" by his teammates and coaches.
"My brother's actual name is Nacho and my teammates thought that was hilarious, so they call me that," Carrasco said.
To his parents though, Andres is "Andy." His parents, Juan and Esther, still reside in Spain and both of them supported Carrasco's decision to come to the United States four years ago to play collegiate tennis.
The Santana High School graduate, who lived in Spain all his life before coming to the U.S. at age 20, had to choose between three other schools and the UA. The Universities of Auburn, Hawaii and Texas all made bids for Carrasco, but the ultimate choice came down to a friendship and a teammate.
"I came here because I had a good friend on the team named Bruno Alcala," Carrasco said. "I didn't really hear anything about UA. I just came here and it worked out perfectly. The first people I talked with were my coaches and they showed me the campus. The experience has been unreal so far."
"Andres is the leader of our team," said head coach Tad Berkowitz. "He is a great example to our team with his efforts in the classroom, his work ethic on the practice courts, and his passion for competing during our dual matches."
Before coming here four years ago, the application process for Carrasco was long and tiring and took about nine months. It included the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) and the SAT exams. To this day the Spanish-speaking Carrasco doesn't know how he passed, but he said his brother and his mother were his biggest influences, supporting him along the way.
"I had no idea about English before I came to the U.S.," Carrasco said. "I didn't understand anything my first semester. When I think about it, it makes me laugh. It's funny. Obviously it was hard to communicate, but I took it as a challenge and I enjoyed it."
"When Andres first arrived on campus he could not speak any English at all," Berkowitz said. "Since day one in the U.S. he has been eager to learn the language and now a couple of years later he speaks fluent English."
For Carrasco, adjusting to the U.S. and the language has been a situation that he becoming accustomed to, but he still misses Barcelona, his home, and his family and friends.
The right-hander started tennis at the age of four and traveled all around Europe to compete. Carrasco remembers, even as an 11 or 12-year-old, having an incredible life, even outside of tennis.
Now, four years later, Carrasco will compete in his final two home matches of his collegiate career as a student-athlete at the UA. He is finishing up his degree in communication with minors in business and Spanish and has made a name for himself, not just on YouTube, but in the competitive Pacific-10 Conference.
This season, Carrasco currently holds a 6-4 record in dual match singles action, totaling an 11-8 overall record. He currently holds an impressive 5-2 record at home at the LaNelle Robson Tennis Center, a place where he says he enjoys playing because he feels comfortable and loves the atmosphere.
Heading into this weekend's matches at home and the final four regular season dual matches, Carrasco is five singles wins shy of tying the 70 singles mark in his four years as a Wildcat. Carrasco is well beyond the 50+ milestone club mark. The senior currently has 65 singles wins in his career as a Wildcat.
Last season, one memorable moment for the junior at the time was upsetting then No.10-ranked UCLA at home 4-3 for the first time in 75 attempts. Although Carrasco did not play in the match, his ability to motivate and cheer on his teammates was remarkable. Carrasco has that natural leadership about him that makes his teammates want to be better.
Junior Jason Zafiros, one of Carrasco's close teammates, has seen the type of player and teammate he is from the moment Zafiros joined the team in 2008.
"Andres is a guy that is irreplaceable," Zafiros said. "He is an unbelievable leader, person, and teammate. The great thing about Andres is that no matter what trouble I was in, I know that he would be there to bail me out. He has inspired me to be a better tennis player as well as a better person."
This weekend Carrasco along with seniors Geoff Embry, Jay Goldman and Borja Malo will compete in their last two home matches of the season against California and Stanford. Nacho looks back four years ago when he arrived to the UA.
"When I came to the UA, I cried all night because I thought this place was horrible and I wanted to go back to Spain," Carrasco said. "The second day everything changed, once I saw the campus and met the people on my team. Today, I think it is the best place in the world I can be."