The Weekend Edition

Welcome to the Saturday, March 28th edition of the Tennis Recruiting Network. Harry Cicma of NBC Sports chats with Lex Urban of Williams College.
Where Are They Now?
Countdown: Conversation with Williams Champ Urban

It's been a few years since Lex Urban walked the campus of Williams College in Massachusetts. Back in the early 2000s, Urban served as captain of the Ephs Men's Tennis Team that won the NCAA Division III National Championship in both 2001 and 2002. After graduating, Urban spent a year doing community service in AmeriCorps - and he now is a practicing lawyer in Washington, DC.

Harry Cicma of NBC Sports chatted with Urban about all things college tennis...


Questions and Answers

Former Williams standout Lex Urban
Harry Cicma (HC): What did you enjoy the most about playing College Tennis for Williams?

Lex Urban (LU): Without a doubt I most enjoyed the team aspect of college tennis at Williams. Junior tennis is almost 100% individual and lacks the team component that college tennis offers. The fact that I was playing my match not just for myself, but for my fellow teammates and College, made every match that much more important, and every win that much sweeter. Because of this, and the truly special thing about Williams tennis, was how much of a family the team became through our work towards a common goal. Ten years removed - wow, I'm old! - from my last match, my teammates are still some of my closest friends.


HC: What was the experience like of winning a National Championship?

LU: It is difficult to describe, but I would say that it was a mix of exhilaration and satisfaction. In sports, there simply is nothing better than winning a championship. The fact that it was a team accomplishment makes the exhilaration much more than any individual honor or championship because in addition to the excitement of what you have accomplished, you also have the excitement of what the team has accomplished. The feeling of satisfaction is one that anyone who sets goals and achieves them can relate to. The amount of work and time that went into being ready for that season, that match, and the deciding moments made achieving our goals incredibly sweet. It is a feeling of contentment to finally be able to appreciate everything you have accomplished over the course of that year. You simply do not forget those moments.

I can remember winning it all in 2002 like it was yesterday. The match had been delayed 4-5 hours because of rain so we were playing under the lights. We did not get back to the hotel until late that night, but we needed to get a team picture to remember the moment. We ended up using the self-timer function to take it in one of our hotel rooms. One of my teammates was in his bathrobe, a few had cigars, but everyone was sporting the huge smile that comes with knowing we had just accomplished something we would never forget.


Urban graduated from Williams in 2004
HC: What advice would you give a young player looking to play college tennis?

LU: I would tell them that they are making a great decision, but that it is going to be a huge time investment if they take the sport seriously. Between practicing, training, and travelling it requires some huge sacrifices in your social calendar. The rewards are well worth it, but that it is still quite difficult to resist all the "extra-curriculars" that college offers.

I would also suggest playing another sport that is team based. As every tennis player knows, being on the court for so many hours can literally drive you insane (who doesn't talk to themselves at one point or another out there?). Competing in another sport (for me it was JV basketball) can be a great outlet, as well as a perfect way to cross-train in the off-season.

Lastly, I would advise them to buy a stringer! Being able to string your own rackets is incredibly useful and a great way to make a little extra cash when trying to live on a budget.


HC: What were the biggest challenges of moving from the USTA juniors to NCAA Tennis?

LU: I think the biggest challenge was figuring out how to reconcile individual achievement with team success. College tennis is so different from juniors because you are playing for your team first and then yourself. At the same time, you are competing with your teammates for lineup spots - but you also have to try and bond with them in order to help the team perform better. Trying to find the balance between competitiveness and team unity was one of the biggest challenges, and most crucial to a team's success (along with talent obviously!). Our team was highly competitive on the court, but we ultimately supported one another off of it. Finding that balance is no easy feat and requires a certain level of selflessness that some people just do not have.

One big challenge I had, that was probably different than a lot of junior players, was catching up with everyone's development because I was a very late bloomer. Because of this, I did not train as hard as my peers in junior tennis and it was a rude awakening when I arrived at Williams. Ultimately, I ended up making the sacrifices and putting in the work, but finding that motivation was challenging given all the distractions that college offers.

All in all, putting in the work that was required to play and be successful at the collegiate level was one of the best decisions I've ever made. It was fun and rewarding - it left me with some great memories and some even better friends.


Boys Time

Earlier this week, we took a look at the top girls in the Class of 2015. On Monday, we check in with the Top 100 boys. Come by Monday morning as Tennis Recruiting keeps you up-to-date on all things college recruiting - as we continue on the Countdown to Signing Day!

College Feature
Countdown: Recruiting - the D-III Perspective
by Division3Tennis, 27 March 2015

As the tennis season kicks into high gear, the team at goes off the court to bring you inside the minds of two prominent D-III coaches. The coaches comment on coaching, recruiting, and D-III tennis in general. Enjoy!

Full Article

Commitment Profile
Countdown: Reto Heads to Melbourne and Florida Tech
by James Hill, 26 March 2015

Alahna Reto of Plano, Texas, has signed the National Letter of Intent with Florida Tech, an NCAA Division II institution. Reto, a four-star recruit, had a number of reasons for wanting to become a member of the Panthers women's tennis team next fall. In addition to wanting to make an impact on the college tennis world, the 5-foot-7 right-hander also likes the biomedical engineering program.

Full Article

Commitment Profile
Countdown: Sameer Kumar Heads to the Cardinal
by Rhiannon Potkey, 25 March 2015

Navigating the college recruiting process can be a confusing endeavor for even the most well-informed families. Sameer Kumar was fortunate enough to have a trial run with his older brother, Mihir, who plays for Northwestern. The younger Kumar applied the lessons he learned in his own decision process, and the Carmel, Indiana, resident decided on Stanford over an impressive of other schools.

Full Article

Tournament Feature
ITF International Spring Championships Mark Decade of Excellence
by Colette Lewis, 24 March 2015

Many a top professional player has found success on the hard courts of the International Tennis Federation Grade 1 International Spring Championships, which begin next week at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. Colette Lewis talks with tournament director John Lansville and others about the past decade since the event has been held in California.

Full Article

Recruiting Feature
Countdown: Previewing the Top 100 Girls
by Julie Wrege, 23 March 2015

Many of the top girls committed during Fall Signing Week last November, but a number of top targets were still available. We talked with many recruits in the Top 100 to find out where they are in their decision process. Some have decided, some have narrowed their lists, and many are still wide open.

Full Article

User Name
Forget your password?
Register Now for Free!

  Class of 2016 - Girls
1st R. Kingsley
2nd I. Neel
3rd E. Shibahara
4th E. Higuchi
5th A. Sanford
6th S. Daavettila
7th H. Chang
8th A. Graham
9th A. Nelson
10th M. Jones

   Complete List