Senior Marc Abdelnour went 1-and-1 in two singles matches to pick up Syria's first ever point in Group 2
March 22, 2011
Boca Raton, Fla. - While most college students were traveling to the Caribbean, Mexico and Miami to enjoy this year's spring break, Florida Atlantic University tennis player Marc Abdelnour was halfway around the world representing Syria in the prestigious international Davis Cup competition.
Abdelhour, FAU's all-time leader for career singles and total victories, played a pair of matches against Korea from March 4-6. He is a native of Aleppo in Syria. "Davis Cup is the highest honor a tennis player can earn to represent his home nation," said Brandon Stokes, the Owls' head men's tennis coach.
Playing as the top singles player for the Syrian team, Abdelnour had a 1-and-1 record in the event. The senior rallied to defeat Suk-Young Jeong in three sets in his second match. He forced a deciding third set by winning the second set, 6-4, and then won a third set tiebreaker, 7-3, for the team's only point as Syria lost the match 4-1. It was also the first point that the country had every earned in Group 2 competition.
"I won a three-and-a-half-hour-long match and it was really intense," noted Abdelnour in a recent interview. "In my first match, I was really tight and nervous. I was able to come back and get Syria a point. I was a break down in the second set and then down 5-2 in the third set before coming back to win the match."
Abdelnour's determination and excellent physical conditions were keys to earning a victory during the Davis Cup experience.
"One positive from this opportunity is that I found a way to battle back to get a win," said Abdelnour. "In the third set, I saved four match points. It was a great feeling."
Abdelnour, FAU's No. 1 singles player, has been nationally ranked this season by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. He has won the Sun Belt Conference's Player of the Week Award three times this season, and has a 20-6 record this season (3-2 against other nationally ranked opponents). That gave him a record-setting 139 total victories for his career - one better than previous record holder Doug Devriendt. He has won 82 career singles matches and broke Devriendt's nine-year-old school mark of 71 in the team's first spring match of the season. Abdelnour also has teamed with fellow senior Ervin Garibovic for a 9-4 record in dual matches this season on the Owls' No. 1 doubles team.
Stokes believes that Abdelnor will benefit from his Davis Cup experience throughout the rest of his senior season and help the team accomplish its goals of winning the Sun Belt Conference's championship and playing in the NCAA tournament.
"This helps (Marc) compete at his best in any situation and condition or against any opponent's skills level," said Stokes. "As our No. 1 player, he is a target in every match. His mental strength and pure love of competition must always be high."
A rare 10-day break in the FAU schedule allowed Abdelnour to play in the David Cup tournament without missing a college match. He returned to play in the team's dual match against Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville on March 9. After losing that first match, the Syrian native has won three of his last four matches, outscoring his three victims by an impressive 36-9 margin - all at No. 1 singles!
While Abdelnour was away in Korean, his Florida Atlantic teammates found a way to follow Abdelnour's Davis Cup matches.
"The boys are tight. They are a band of brothers so we were all rooting for him," said Stokes. "The guys wanted to have a Watch Party, but there was no webcast of the matches."
Abdelnour admitted that even though his family was not able to attend the matches in Korea, they were still able to watch his matches via Korean television.
"I did a lot of interviews before matches and my family could see some of them," the senior said.
So, what will Abdelnour take away from the Davis Cup experience?
"Unlike college tennis, there were ball boys and referees for every match. It was an awesome experience," said Abdelnour. "They treated us like professional players. There were a lot of people there to watch pre-match workouts and practices, and people taking pictures of me and our team. It was fun and something you see only on TV."
The Owls, stand 7-7 on the season, will return to the court on Thursday, March 24, when they battle Wright State University in a 2 p.m. match at Patch Reef Park, located at 1200 Yamato Road in Boca Raton.
-- Written By Dale Long, Assistant Athletic Media Relations