During each day of the men's tennis team's trip to Hawai'i, a member of the Blue Devil squad offered his thoughts on the experiences. Friday was day eight, the last entry, and features the team’s trio of freshmen in Spencer Furman, Robert Levine and Nick Stachowiak answering four questions about the trip.
Q: What was your favorite activity outside of tennis on this trip and why it was your favorite?
Furman A: The helicopter ride was truly breath taking. I knew I was going to see some amazing sights, but I was not prepared for the pure beauty of flying over Hawai'i. The experience was something I will always remember.
Levine A: I enjoyed having the entire support staff of our team here because it added to the bonding experience we set out to have. Sharing vulnerable moments with each other in an activity lead by the legend himself, Greg Dale, definitely will be something I take with me for the rest of my time as a Duke student-athlete.
Stachowiak A: My favorite activity this week was the helicopter tour. To be able to come to an amazing place like the Hawaiian Islands and see an overhead view was unbelievable. Flying through mountains, seeing gorgeous waterfalls and going over the beaches and Pearl Harbor made the tour, and trip as a whole, even more incredible.
Q: What was the most important tennis lesson you learned on this trip?
Furman A: The most important tennis lesson I learned from the trip was the value of the doubles point. If we can win the doubles point, it means we only need three singles wins to capture a dual match. Since every singles match is a battle, the extra point is a key advantage going into singles, and helps get us closer to four overall match points.
Levine A: I value the doubles wisdom that Coach [Jonathan] Stokke and Coach Diego [Garavito] shared with me this week. They always are able to make really complex lessons seem simple.
Stachowiak A: The most important tennis lesson I learned on this trip was to always have a positive attitude and confident body language. As a freshman it is easy to be intimidated by bigger or older college players. If you act confident and always show positivity, you will have a great chance to play your best against any player.
Q: How does a trip like this help with team bonding?
Furman A: We just grew closer to one another. From all the time we spent with each other, we gained trust and confidence that our teammates will always fight for the each other no matter what the situation in the match is.
Levine A: This trip definitely brought us closer as a group because we are competing together in a format that is similar to a dual for the first time, but we also have the privilege of doing so many off-court activities that are rare experiences. Enjoying beautiful scenery and going on adventures like the helicopter tour allow us to have unique moments we share with each other.
Stachowiak A: Being on a week-long trip like this with the whole team definitely grows the bond between all of us. You learn things about each other that you may not have ever found out back on campus. We spend a good amount of time in our hotel rooms watching movies. Sometimes it happens to be one of our favorite movies, and sometimes one of us has never seen it before.
We get to hang out on the beach and just relax for a while, talking about anything. A trip like this brings everyone closer together because we are fortunate enough to be here in paradise together with no stress.
Q: What is one goal you have for the season moving forward?
Furman A: A goal for the team I have is to host a first round match in the NCAA Championships at the end of the season. I think we have the talent across the lineup to play at a level where we could host a first round.
To accomplish this goal we need to take everything one day at a time and one match at the time so we are ready for every opponent this season. We're all excited to move forward this season and see what we are capable of.
Levine A: My goal for this team is to have everybody enjoy competing for Duke and alongside each other as much as we possibly can. If we all do that we will also be successful with regards to results.
Stachowiak A: My one main goal for this spring season is to help our team be the most successful team we can be. When I am on the court I will do everything I can to earn a point for the team. When I am off the court I will cheer for my teammates and give them the encouragement they need to help our team accomplish its goals.