The Stanford men’s tennis team added three outstanding freshmen to its roster this year. This is one of the Cardinal’s strongest freshman classes to date. Niko Godsick, Kyle Kang, and Hudson Rivera have already remained busy this quarter developing their elite-level tennis games, integrating with new teammates, and adjusting to their new lives as student-athletes in college. I did.
Prior to attending Stanford, Kang, Rivera, and Gothic were all designated as “Best” recruits in the U.S. Tennis Recruiting Rankings, with Kang ranked No. 1 and Rivera and Gothic ranked 12th and 20th, respectively. It had been.
“Nico [Godsick] He’s one of the more well-rounded players we’ve had,” said men’s tennis head coach Paul Goldstein. “Kyle [Kang] He just has a world-class, elite forehand, probably one of the best forehands I’ve had the opportunity to work with in my 10 years as a head coach. ”
“Hudson [Rivera] both are really solid [backhand and forehand] He swings well and is a great competitor,” Goldstein said.
The player’s description of himself was the same as Goldstein’s. Godsick characterizes himself as an “all-round player” who is “always aiming for the goal,” while Kang praises the strength of his serve and forehand, as well as his ability to be “aggressive” and play “big style tennis.” It pointed out. Rivera said his style is to “play big tennis, step forward, serve the first ball, and go for your shot.”
Goldstein said he hired Godsick, Cann and Rivera not only for their world-class tennis ability, but also for their love of the game. “We’re looking for someone who truly plays the game,” he said. We play to understand it. ”
As expected, all three had their own coaches, and Goldstein was well aware of this dynamic. “In each case, we have tried to communicate with the coaches from home before they arrive here,” he said. “[We] Maintain dialogue so that there is continuity. I think our philosophy is… there’s no ego here. We just want our players to feel supported and feel like they’re getting the best information possible. ”
Now, Goldstein’s goal is to integrate these freshmen into the team, and that process is well underway.
“These three in particular have a very strong connection to each other,” he said. “I think that will rub off on the rest of the team and make the transition a lot easier.”
“This year’s team has really strong leadership. And I think with any team…it’s incumbent upon those who have been here in the past to help the freshmen fit in, and our leaders… I think they did a great job of that,” Goldstein said.
Godsick, Kang and Rivera chose Stanford because of Goldstein and his staff, the program’s rich heritage, and Stanford’s academic excellence. However, all three freshmen attended high school online, so they not only have to juggle rigorous practices but also have to adjust to an in-person school environment.
Rivera admitted there have been some adjustments, but he has been able to overcome all the challenges. Rivera emphasized the importance of “knowing what you have and your deadlines and prioritizing.”
“I have to be more conscious and work harder. It’s been an adjustment, but it hasn’t been that difficult,” Rivera said.
Kang praised the role of academic advisors as part of the student-athlete support system. “They were really great at helping us manage ourselves and making sure we were focused on the right things,” he said.
Godsick echoed his teammates’ sentiments. “Being a college student is not easy. It doesn’t bother me at all. It’s actually helped me grow and mature and learn different skills such as communication skills, time management, and work ethic. “I think … and I believe Stanford is the best place to do that,” he said.
Goldstein said all of the new students are adjusting well to their new environment. “They’ve checked all the boxes in a big way and I feel very positive about that,” he said.
Goldstein recognized that there was more to a player’s life than just tennis. “It’s not just the academic part, it’s also the social part, and understanding the need for kids to have some sort of holistic experience,” he says. “It’s a trifecta for me. It’s tennis, it’s academics, it’s social life.” Goldsick said all three are important to him, but student-athletes have to make sacrifices in many ways. He said that there is.
During their first week of school, the three freshmen attended an alumni event, which Goldstein said helped with the transition process. “The benefit of that is… it gives you a sense of being part of something bigger than yourself.”
According to Goldstein, this feeling is especially important in tennis, because tennis is a very individual sport, and only then do you belong to a team.