Moya finds success as Eagles continue winning season

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Derik Wuchte

Arriving in late January from Lisbon, Portugal, freshman Ze Moya has been slowly finding his rhythm in the men’s tennis program.

The circumstances for Moya finding his way to GSU began with a coincidence. Eagles head coach Sander Koning is responsible for men’s tennis in the United States and his brother is overseas and taking part in tennis internationally.

“Coach has a brother. And he’s from the Netherlands,” Moya said. “Once, I played in a tournament in Europe. My team played against Netherlands. Coach’s brother was the captain of Netherlands. In that way, he saw me, he spoke with his brother and Southern contacted me.”

Moya transferred to GSU shortly after that meeting. After a month of preparation and learning the team’s style of play, he has become a starter in the Eagle’s lineup. He began as a No. 4 spot player, but after a few wins has worked himself up No. 3. Despite being a freshman, Moya has been able to make an impressive show for his first collegiate season in the US with eight wins already.

“I don’t feel that much pressure because I’m new and everything is new for me,” Moya said. “I just try to enjoy playing and try to give a win for the team.”

The US and college-level tennis have been the newest experiences for Moya. The adaptation hasn’t affected his performance too much, but it has taken time to adjust.

“Something that really shocked me is the teamwork,” Moya said. “Here, all the things we do is as a team. It really helps me to improve and have all the other guys supporting me and pushing me up. This is the thing that I most enjoy here and I’m learning from it.”

The playing environment in the U.S. has also had an effect on Moya. Seven out of the ten players on the Eagle’s men’s tennis roster are not from the U.S. They each have had to play on U.S. courts and get used to them on their own time. Moya’s learning curve began during the season so he has had to accustom in a shorter time.

“The biggest difference is the surface because we used to play a lot in clay,

Moya said. “We adapt our game a little bit to the surface. My strokes are with more spin and others are more far away from the baseline. Here, it’s faster tennis and people try to step up a lot more in the courts. This is what coach is trying to show to what I do in the match.”

The team finds themselves 12-5 after defeating the University of South Carolina Upstate on Saturday. Moya will take his 8-2 singles record and three match win streak against Mercer on Tuesday as the team looks for their 13th win on the season.

Mercer is 7-11 and they are coming off of a win to The Citadel. Southern lost 3-4 to Mercer last season so they will be looking for revenge. The teams play this Tuesday at home at the Wallis Tennis Center in Statesboro. 3 p.m. will be the start time.