Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

As his final year approaches, Eliot Spizzirri looks ahead to pros


Eliot Spizzirri might be returning to the Texas men’s tennis team for one last rodeo, but it’s no secret that the senior has his sights set on a future in professional tennis.

Spizzirri has been nothing short of phenomenal in his collegiate career at Texas, with last year being his finest. Last fall, he made a stunning jump from a nationwide ranking of No. 35 to No. 3. In the spring, he shot up to No. 1, winning both the Big 12 Player of the Year and the ITA Player of the Year in the process.

Over the summer, Spizzirri primarily focused on professional tournaments, making his ATP Challenger Tour debut in July at the Bloomfield Hills Challenger before playing in four more across the country. Faced with the prospect of transitioning into a new stage of his career, Spizzirri felt equipped to take on the challenge.

“You don’t know how ready you are until you get out there,” Spizzirri told in an interview. “Then you play these matches and get the opportunities and the experiences. So I’m super excited.”

Spizzirri’s summer success culminated in a berth at the U.S. Open qualifying at the USTA National Tennis Center in New York, which is about 30 miles from his hometown of Greenwich, Connecticut. He aimed to outdo his second round exit in 2021 with hopes of making the main draw.

With wins against No. 173 Italian Matteo Gigante and fellow American No. 116 Aleksandar Kovacevic, he was one match away from the final 128. Win or lose, however, he continued to focus on enjoying the moment.

“To play here is just unbelievable; I was one of these kids coming to qualifying every year getting autographs,” Spizzirri told Texas Public Radio. “It would be a dream to make the main draw.”

Spizzirri ultimately had to retire due to an injury in the third set of the final qualifying match against countryman No. 164 Emilio Nava, but his U.S. Open journey didn’t stop there. He qualified for the doubles main draw with partner Tyler Zink at the 2021 U.S. Open, whom he won the U.S. Open Junior Championships with back in 2019. This time, however, their run ended in the first round against French duo Adrian Mannarino and Arthur Rinderknech.

His decorated collegiate career sets him up for a promising professional career, and he never fails to recognize that.

“They’ve helped me develop my game, and just become a lot stronger physically and mentally,” Spizzirri told “The coaching staff, the strength and conditioning staff, nutritionist, trainers, it’s all you could ever want as an athlete. It’s an unreal experience.”

This year, his focus is on capturing the elusive national title that the Longhorns have sought during his tenure.

“Ultimately, I decided I couldn’t leave this special group of guys without giving everything I have to winning a national championship,” Spizzirri said.

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