College Star Stachowiak Gets Pro Experience
Duke freshman reflects on ATP Challenger Tour debut in Cary
Nick Stachowiak couldn’t have asked for more home crowd support in his ATP Challenger Tour debut.
The 18 year old American, currently a freshman at Duke University, received a wild card into the main draw of the $50,000 ATP Challenger Tour event in Cary. Competing on the courts that he’ll do battle on for Duke over the next four years, Stachowiak put up a valiant effort before losing to Emilio Gomez in his first-round match.
Although he left the tournament earlier than he hoped, he was grateful to play on front of a vocal Stadium Court crowd during a night session.
“Playing on Stadium Court for my first ATP Challenger Tour event was a great experience. I’m really grateful to everyone who gave me the wild card,” said Stachowiak. “I was a little nervous at the beginning of the match, but I got into it and it was a lot of fun.”
Stachowiak concluded his junior career as one of the top players in the U.S., reaching the doubles final last month at the Boys’ 18s National Championships. But he admitted that while there will be a learning curve playing college tennis, there was even a steeper one playing and practising this week with the pros.
“I think the biggest difference in maturity. They do this for a living, so they know every point matters and don’t take any off,” said Stachowiak. “I’ve learned that I have a lot to work on. There’s always another level and you can always get better. The main thing is just to keep working hard.”
Although he will mainly focus on college tennis during the school year, Stachowiak said he intends to play a few Futures and ATP Challenger Tour events during the summer. He’s also hopeful to get another wild card here next year and show how much progress he's made in 12 months.
“I couldn’t be happier because this is my hometown. I’ve been playing on these courts since I was seven years old,” said Stachowiak. “I’m so glad this tournament is here and I hope it stays here because I want to come back and play this again.”