LSU Club Tennis was acknowledged this week by the Louisiana Tennis Association (LTA) and the United States Tennis Association (USTA) as the 2012 Tennis on Campus Club of the Year. This award is given to the club team that has made significant contributions to the USTA/LA Tennis on Campus Program. Current club president Alex Braud was additionally named the 2012 Tennis on Campus Leader of the Year for his work with the USTA/LA Tennis on Campus program through LSU’s Club Tennis team. Braud talks about how his time and effort put into reshaping the club tennis team over the past four years has finally come to fruition.
It’s been four long, yet quick years, but it might just be time for me to call it a day. I’ve been a part of the LSU Club Tennis Team since my freshman year and it’s been quite a journey. Back then, we were just a small group of guys playing twice a week out on the varsity tennis practice courts. Today, we’re a thriving club with over 50 members vying for a national championship. Who would have thought this is where we would be today? In our sophomore year, Nick Lucidi and I took over a club with very little organization, but a club with plenty of potential. We had a vision and a dream for LSU Club Tennis, but it took much more than just that to get where we are today. It took our strong competitiveness to win and passion to succeed. We once struggled with people saying we weren’t competitive enough as a club. We struggled with getting people to go to practices and to travel for tournaments. Yet we overcame those obstacles. Today we have several former varsity players on our team as well as a number of players that could potentially play college tennis. We now also regularly have 25+ people coming to each practice and had 15 girls and 13 guys travel to Florida State this past weekend.
With these accomplishments has come success on the court. We finished fourth in the Southern district and got to compete against the best teams in the country at Nationals last year in Cary, North Carolina. A Nationals appearance could be a testament to all the hard work and effort we put in (and it was a great reward), but I think I can say for Nick and myself that we’ve gotten so much more in return. The friends, the memories, the character and leadership development we’ve gained through club tennis is something I don’t think either of us ever imagined when we first stepped foot on campus as freshman together. We shaped the club team just as much as the club team shaped us into who we are today. We had the opportunity to develop something we knew could be great. We took our vision and made it into reality. It’s been a lot of work, day in and day out, but it’s the passion we have for this club that has really been the difference.
But I’m not done yet! Nick graduated and left, so now I’m left holding the reigns to this continuously building club. I’m graduating in December so there are a few things left I’m trying to get accomplished. One thing I feel strongly about is working to develop more opportunities for anyone to play tennis on campus. This year, our club has formed a Recreational Team for players to come out to hit, have fun, and meet others that love tennis. Secondly, I really want my team to be the best that they can be and strive for greatness still when I’m gone. Through developing a close-knit group of members and improving on our organization, I think our club could become a powerhouse that other clubs look to for inspiration. Finally, I want my teammates to know that most everything I do for the club is for them. I want to give them the opportunity to experience what I got to experience. Through club tennis is how I got the most out of my college experience. I want to give to them, what club tennis gave to me.
Alex Braud // LSU Club Tennis President