Texas tennis senior duo talks leading team with friendship

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Photo Credit: Courtesy of Texas Athletics

Fernanda Labraña and Marta Perez Mur can attribute their success on the tennis court to hard work, commitment and the enduring friendship they’ve developed over the years.

Through two tournaments, the seniors have started the season strong. In singles play, Labraña is a perfect 6–0, while Perez Mur has conceded only one game, making her record 5–1.

Both individuals are winning in singles matches, and their high level of play carries over into doubles, where the dynamic duo holds an unblemished 4–0 record. One of the main reasons that their relationship is so strong is their shared language.

“Since we both speak Spanish, we’re able to have more fun just because we can joke if something happens during the doubles,” Perez Mur said. 

Speaking Spanish helps them enjoy competitions more and compete in their comfort zone, but their connection is deeper than just a language. Perez Mur said she and Labraña balance each other out on the court, and the pair said their strong friendship is what strengthens their tennis dynamic.

“We are great friends, and we trust each other,” Labraña said. “We understand each other. Sometimes, I don’t even have to talk to her — she understands what we’re going to do.”

The pair does not struggle with playing at such a high level and maintaining a strong relationship because they are willing to motivate one another during tournaments and practice.

The teammates recognize how hard the other has worked to get to where they are today. When it comes down to it, these friends have a deeper bond that many do not fully understand. 

“I admire her progress, just how she has developed over the years. You can actually see how she has matured,” Perez Mur said. “She’s always smiling and having fun with everyone while joking. That’s something I really like about her.”

 

Their friendship is profound off of the court where they lift each other up through heartfelt conversations and support each other in their struggles as international students.  

“She has helped me a lot, especially here because being a student-athlete isn’t easy, so I feel like she has been one of my biggest supporters here at Texas,” Labraña said. “I can always talk to her because I’m always being listened to, and that’s big because it’s not easy.” 

Both seniors also understand the role they can play for the team by helping the five new freshmen settle into collegiate athletics.

“We try to guide them and help them,” Perez Mur said. “That kind of creates the environment of the team, and at the end of the day, we’re all in this together. We try to have fun because it’s not easy.” 

Labraña and Perez Mur have no doubt in their minds that the team can compete for both a Big 12 and NCAA Championship during the spring calendar when the roster is complete.

Even during a pandemic, the pair is looking to leave their mark on the Texas tennis program while carrying a solid friendship into the future. 

“If you look on paper, and even if you watch us play, we can definitely do it,” Perez Mur said. “It’s a team effort, so we all have to keep working together.”