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One on One with Matt Dunn
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 07/25/2014
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Matt Dunn

Junior

Tucson, AZ (Salpointe Catholic)

 

Q: What lead you to stay close to home, and choose the University of Arizona?

I took a few recruiting trips to the East coast and I found that I really didn’t like traveling that far away from home, and I didn’t like the atmosphere of the teams I was visiting. I liked the idea of staying close to home, but being able to live on campus, and I wanted to be able to have my parents and siblings in the stands cheering me on. I also wanted to play in the Pac-12, the best conference in the country for tennis, and have the opportunity to play USC and UCLA (two of the top teams in the country) each year.

Q: How do you balance academics and tennis?

I’ve focused on only tennis since I was 11 years old, so I have my routine to balance school and tennis down. I’m very used to practicing two-three hours a day, going to class, and then working on my studies. I’m very used to this routine and I’m able to manage my time very efficiently to the point where I’m still about to catch about seven-eight hours of sleep (on a good night). I also try to make sure that I get plenty of time to relax each day, as school and tennis can be stressful at times.

Q: How did you get involved in tennis?

My mom was the one who first introduced me to the sport because she wanted me to be able to play a life long sport. This was when I was six and I have been playing tennis ever since.

Q: What drove you to play at such a high level?

Tennis became my one and only sport when I was 11 years old, and it was when I was 16 that I realized that I wanted to play D1 tennis. I made sure that I had a competitive practice schedule, along with a rigorous national junior schedule, so that I could earn the best national ranking possible. Tucson has a very strong tradition of players who have played D1 tennis and I wanted to make sure that my name was added to that very prestigious list.

Q: What sort of role do you play on the team?

I would describe myself as a “not so vocal” leader. I don’t always say much during team meetings, but when I do I make sure that it’s short and to the point. The way I act on the court is similar, because I don’t usually show much emotion. When I get fired up my teammates know that something good is happening on my court. I try my best to lead by example and hope that the example I am setting is one that my teammates will want to follow as well.

Q: How are you preparing for next season?

I took some time off after our long spring season, but now I am getting back into the swing of practicing and getting back into the gym. By the time school rolls around, I’ll be ready to go.

Q: What are your goals for next season?

My personal goal for next season is to have a greater impact on the team on the court, in the gym, and in the classroom. I was a major contributor in doubles in 2014, and I want to build on that as well as increasing my role in singles play. As a team, my goal is that we can get over the hump and make a push for the NCAA tournament. The last two seasons we have had defining moments that impacted our tournament chances, because we lost a couple of very important matches. My goal this year is that we can learn and grow from these experiences and overcome these difficult patches of our long spring season.

Q: Who has had the most influence on your tennis career? Why?

The person who has had the biggest impact is my junior coach John Perry. He was a major reason I was able to become the player that I am today. As far as my career goes, I think my parents have had the biggest influence, especially my dad. My dad was the one who took me to all the tournaments I would compete in. He took time off from work to travel with me when the tournaments were out of state. When times got tough and my results weren’t so good, he never once doubted my ability and said that one day all of those losses would start turning into wins. And he was right. My dad (along with the rest of my family) was a big reason I decided to stay in Tucson and play for the U of A and I can’t thank him enough for all that he has done for me. I try to reward him by playing my best every time I step on the court during the season.

Q: What do you love most about the men’s tennis program?

The facilities and athletic staff are amazing at U of A. That was really what struck me most when I was comparing U of A to all the other places I visited during high school. I love being able to play for the athletic program of my hometown, a program that I always looked up to as a kid and never thought I would be able to play for. Also to be able to play in the Pac-12 is a great honor. It’s been a great experience playing for the U of A and I can’t wait to see what the next two years have in store for the team and I.

 

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