Cal Poly grand slam tennis ace John Nguyen is on the top of his game as he is currently ranked No.1 on Mustang roster for the second year in a row and could place well at the Big West finals in late April.
Nguyen, a business junior has dominated both sides of the serve this season with his crippling offense and his powerful defense.
The Anaheim native’s commanding performance this year had ranked him as high as No.54 in the nation and as high as No.13 in the western region, according to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association for the week of Jan. 10 2006. Nguyen was also named Big West Player of the Week for the week of Feb. 23 2006 after his strong showing against No. 59 ranked University of Nevada-Las Vegas.
A tennis player at heart, Nguyen explained that the game of tennis has been his favorite pastime since the age of 12 when his father placed a tennis racket in his hand.
“My father was a recreational player that loved the sport and he encouraged me to play,” Nguyen said.
Shortly after picking up the racket, Nguyen began playing in tournaments and has been playing competitively for 10 years. He continued to play in select tournaments through junior college as well as for his high school team despite no intention of playing competitive tennis beyond his days at Santiago Canyon College in Santa Ana, Calif.
“I didn’t play for my junior college team, I just continued to play in tournaments all over,” Nguyen said.
It was during one these tournaments that he discovered Cal Poly and its Division I tennis program that eventually brought him to San Luis Obispo.
“While playing in a tournament at Avila Bay I met coach Kronemann, liked the program and what they had to offer and ended up coming out here to play tennis,” Nguyen said.
Despite the pressure that accompanies the No. 1 spot on the roster, Nguyen doesn’t mind being on top.
“I like being No. 1, it feels good to be No. 1 and have others look up to you,” Nguyen said. “I like being a source of motivation for my teammates.”
Balancing the responsibilities of school and sports can be quite difficult, and Nguyen’s case is no different.
“The time and effort is definitely the hardest part, you have to manage your time better because of the practices and all the traveling,” he said.
With a strong 22-7 singles record and a 3-3 doubles record with friend and teammates, Brett Van Linge, Nguyen gives credit to his increased court time and his strict training regiment as the reason for his strongest season yet.
“This is definitely my best year, my best record, I’ve played stronger, played more,” Nguyen said. “I’ve definitely just spent more time on the court and had better conditioning.”
Standing tall in the No.1 slot as his last Mustang season comes to a close, Nguyen’s love for the game is deeper than just the competition.
“I really enjoying playing tennis, it’s a lot of fun, it’s what I like to do most,” Nguyen said.