With a squad that boasts seven newcomers, sophomore Garrett Snyder is one of three returnees taking on the responsibility of leading the Texas men's tennis team through a competitive season. In his first year at Texas (2003-04), Snyder posted a 9-10 record in singles and a 9-4 overall record in doubles. The Newport Beach, Calif., native sat down with TexasSports.com to talk about how he spent the summer preparing for the season, why he thinks fans should attend UT's home matches, and what he likes most about Austin.
ON THE COURT
As one of only three returnees, what do you see your role being for the team this year?
"This year I see myself being a leader. Roger (Gubser) is our captain and I know he is going to do an awesome job, but I also expect myself to be a leader this year since we have such a young team."
What are you looking forward to accomplishing this season, specifically with you own game?
"This year I want to continue to improve every aspect of my game. That is probably the most important thing. I know that if I work hard every day at practice, things are going to happen and I am going to get better and better."
What did you do this summer to prepare for the season?
"Over the summer I played in a lot of tournaments. Roger (Gubser), Travis (Helgeson) and I went up to northern California and played some pro tournaments as amateurs. We also played some in my hometown (Newport Beach) in southern California, so I think that experience will really help me this year."
What was the competition like at the summer pro tournaments?
"It was good competition that was maybe a little better than college level, but a lot of college players play in those tournaments. I think it is good to play a lot of matches over the summer."
Give a little insight into what it is like playing for Coach Michael Center.
"He is an unbelievable coach who has taught me a lot already, and I have only been here one year. Coach Center is a great leader and I know that he can help me do a lot with my game. I am looking forward to this year."
How and when were you introduced to the game of tennis?
"When I was real young, around five years old, I just started hitting balls around. I played all sports when I was younger and decided that if I was going to be really good at one I had to choose, so I chose tennis. I stopped playing other sports around the age of 12. I played tennis in high school all four years."
Why did you decide to come to Texas?
"I had five college recruiting visits; four were in southern California and the other was at Texas. I never really thought I would come here, but after I visited and met the coaches and players and saw the campus, I fell in love with it all."
What is the one thing you would like to share with everyone about the game of tennis?
"Tennis is a rough, aggressive sport and a lot of fun to watch if you get into it. Dual matches are real exciting and I hope we have more fans come out to Penick-Allison to watch this year."
OFF THE COURT
You are originally from California. Do you return home often?
"Not too often, just at Christmas and Thanksgiving. We play a lot of tournaments during the season, so there is not much time to get back to California. It's cool being on my own, but every once in a while I miss being home."
How influential is your family in your life, both on and off the court?
"They are very influential. They've done so much for me and are behind me all the way. That means a lot to me."
How to you spend your time off the court?
"I like to have fun and hang out with my friends. I'll play other sports, like basketball, or do other hobbies, like body surfing."
What is your favorite food and restaurant?
"I'd have to say steak or pizza. My favorite restaurant back home would probably be In-N-Out Burger and here in Austin, Frank and Angie's (Pizzeria). It's a good place and if you have not been, you should - it's good."
What do you find yourself watching on TV that you never thought you would?
"The OC. It is a popular show, but I never thought I'd watch it."
What do you like most about Austin?
"I like that there are a lot of things to do in Austin. I also like that you can have a great social life in this city."
What is your current major and what do you aspire to do with it after college?
"My current major is sport management and I am not sure what I am going to do when I graduate. I could work for my dad or I would like to be a sports agent. There is definitely a chance I will pursue tennis, but you certainly have to have a backup."