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Rocha climbs tennis rankings

By Isaac Hillis MTN Sports Reporter April 1, 2021

Francisco Rocha is a junior at MTSU and plays for the men's tennis team, where he is currently the no. 37 best mens tennis player in the country with three C-USA Player of the Week awards so far this spring. Rocha is currently 20-6 on the year and has defeated some very strong opponents, most recently he defeated no. 45 Chase Ferguson of the University of South Florida.

Rocha’s journey has been a unique one to say the least and according to him it's been a “great adventure.” He is from Porto, Portugal where he “always dreamed of playing tennis at the highest level.”

MTSU head coach Jimmy Borendame came across Rocha by accident when traveling to Europe. His flight was cancelled in Portugal and he was forced to stay there for an additional day, where he connected with a few tennis coaches from the area. They showed him several very talented players.

“I was immediately very impressed with Francisco's good attitude,” said Borendame.

The decision to come to MTSU and play tennis was then not too difficult for Rocha, as he had his eyes set on his goal.

“Coming to MTSU has been a great adventure. I think of it as a new stage of my life and I love to challenge myself. Going away from my country, being away from my family was hard. But I knew I had to make some sacrifices.” said Rocha.

Rocha’s development as a tennis player has been very noticeable ever since coming to the United States.

"His first year he helped us win at doubles," said Borendame. "Then his second year he became a force at 5, and this year he's becoming one of the best in the country.”

Rocha is in only his junior year at MTSU and is already making an impact on the rest of the team, specifically the younger players.

“He’s the hardest working guy on the team and it shows in his results. And that pushes the whole team really, everybody sees his results, he's rising a lot, and everybody sees that and it's a great push for the team especially the freshman that get to see how hard he works,” said Max Rauch, who is Rocha's doubles partner.

For Rocha, morale is high as the team is riding a 28-game home winning streak and will be playing on the road for the next two weeks. He will look to continue to climb the rankings as he now sits as the no. 37 best mens tennis player in Division I.


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