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King gives men’s tennis a local flavor

BY ANDRES FOCIL
King gives men’s tennis a local flavor

By Sydney StoltzArkansas Media RelationsTaylor King is a Northwest Arkansas product and the senior has played a valuable role in the success of the Arkansas men’s tennis team over the last four seasons. After a great first year on the courts, King redshirted his second season as he recovered from illness. He returned to action his third year and earned the first of several SEC Academic Honor Roll selections.Last season King was a steady contributor on the doubles circuit. After a strong fall season, King is expected to provide valuable leadership for the Razorback tennis team this spring.MR: Do you like to play any other sports than tennis?TK: I love golf. I started to get into it when I got sick after my freshman year and couldn’t play tennis that well. My dad got really into golf and that was something we could do together for fun. I started to take my teammates out there as something to get away from tennis when you’re going at it all week. It’s really relaxing.MR: How long have you been playing tennis?TK: I’ve been playing since I was six or seven. I tried other sports like soccer and baseball but they were too boring for me.MR: What got you involved in tennis?TK: My dad. He played college tennis at John Brown University.MR: Do you have any favorite tennis players?TK: With the style I play, there are not many people who still play like me. I serve-and-volley and it’s a very old school style. I really like John McEnroe because he is a lefty. He serves volleys and is a good competitor.MR: What is it that you like about Coach Robert Cox?TK: The thing I like most about him is that he wants to make you the best tennis player you can be but more than that he wants you to leave here as a well rounded individual. I’ve been here for five years and the things I have learned will help me in the real world. You learn to deal with pressure and deadlines. You leave here being a mature adult.MR: How important is it being a captain your senior year?TK: It’s a privilege. I feel like I have what it takes and the experience to be a good captain here. By no means am I the best player, but I’m a leader by leading by example, good attitude, and I know what Coach Cox expects us to do on the court and as a Razorback on this team. I’m not afraid to tell a player to step it up. I am the only one left on this team that has been to the NCAA Tournament. I know what it is like and that is our ultimate goal. I can help push the guys to get there.MR: Do you have any pre-match rituals? TK: I don’t have any superstitions or good luck things. Either you’re ready or not. MR: Do you have any goals for your final year here at Arkansas?TK: One of my goals is to go back to the NCAA Tournament and make a good showing there. I also really want to beat Texas. I play them every year and haven’t beaten them yet so I would love for us to beat Texas this year. A personal goal would to contribute how I can for the team.MR: What do people not know about tennis?TK: They probably know but don’t realize how lonely of a sport it is. Other than doubles, you are out there by yourself. It can come down to one person. The pressure is on you 24/7 when you are out there. It can come down to one point for one person, on one court, with everyone watching you. That is ultimate pressure. To be able to come through that is an amazing task. Unlike any other collegiate sport, collegiate tennis has more pressure than you could possibly imagine. MR: How are you involved with the community?TK: I am part of the SAAC Team which is Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. We have a lot of opportunities to good things for the community. In the fall we have the Book Hog program where we go to elementary schools and talk to children about the importance of reading. We do several other programs within the community. SAAC has played a huge role in my college experience. It’s rewarding, fun, and a great experience. MR: What made you choose Arkansas?TK: John Deaton was a Razorback here in the ‘90s and I saw him play at the Fort Smith Athletic Club. I thought he was God’s gift to tennis. He was amazing. Also my dad wanted to play here but he didn’t make the team. At the time they had world class players here. I always wanted to play here since I was around nine or at least play in the SEC. When I got a phone call to take a visit and be part of this team, it was a no brainer. I didn’t worry about looking anywhere else.MR: How do you approach a big SEC match?TK: Those are always special. It’s a perfect opportunity to show coach and the fans what you can do. Mostly for those matches I truly want to win for those people who come out here. The people who come out here have been coming for a long time and I want to see new people come out here. If we are winning then more people will come watch and enjoy this facility. That’s what it is here for and when it is full it is the best feeling in the world. I want that for the guys who haven’t experienced that. Win or lose, it’s an amazing feeling to be out here when the place is packed and everyone is cheering for you. MR: What do you like about tennis?TK: I love the fact collegiate tennis is a team sport. It helps you be unselfish because if you don’t give 100 percent it affects not just you but the whole team as well. It’s hard for freshman and it was hard for me. I also like that I can enjoy tennis far beyond college. Also our team is such a tight team. We all get along and hang out together. Experiencing the different cultures of my teammates is another thing I love about collegiate tennis. You get to live with and be around people that aren’t from your culture. It’s fun to create relationships with people from all over the globe.



Sports Category : Tennis (M)