TAMPA BAY, Fla. — All good things must come to an end.
For Jason Lin, the end of his competitive tennis career opens a world of new possibilities.
Playing tennis since he was “11 and a half,” the senior from Irvine, Calif, with the strong backhand looks forward to pursuing a career outside of sports and enjoying playing tennis recreationally.
“It’s been great [but] it kind of sucks that it’s ending,” said Lin, at the tennis centre at the University of South Florida. “Definitely all things have to come to an end and I’m ready to enter the working world.
“I’m enjoying these last couple months of tennis, these four years have definitely been great.”
The four years have brought many good memories and fun times with teammates, including a few nicknames.
Years before Jeremy “Linsanity” Lin erupted in New York and took the sporting world by storm, Jason Lin was already garnering a reputation of his own on the University of Pennsylvania campus in Philadelphia.
“Recently, there’s been a little more [Lin jokes] but it hasn’t always been because of Jeremy Lin. People call me “Linner Linner Chicken Dinner,” [and] I’ve had people call me “Lin-yrd” Skynyrd.
“I get a lot of these names but it’s all in good fun,” said Lin. “One guy wanted to buy me a Linsanity T-shirt, but it’s really not about me.”
Teammate Ivan Tuduric, Lin’s roommate on the road, says it’s going to be a different team with his friend graduated, and that they have a lot of fun with him.
“We don’t do lots of Lin jokes, but we refer to him sometimes as ‘the better J. Lin,” he said, laughing.
The nicknames and jokes are all in good fun from a team that respects the seniority of a player close to the end of his college career.
While in Florida, Lin won his doubles match with consecutive killer backhand cuts to defeat a surging USF team.
“If it wasn’t for his backhand he’d probably never have won a match in his life,” Tuduric jokingly explained. “His backhand is his strength; it’s what he does, it’s annoying for opponents sometimes, but that’s his game.”
Assistant coach Ty Schaub agreed.
“His backhand is very good, and his speed on the backhand. He has a natural strength from the backhand so it’s pretty fluid, it’s something that came pretty easy to him. It must have been a strength since he was a young kid,” he said.
Backhand has always been Lin’s strength.
“So that’s always a shot I’m going to go to, on crucial points especially. Most kids, their strengths are their forehand and not many people know my strength is my backhand, so it’s always good when they keep hitting to your backhand because it makes things easier,” said Lin.
“I’m actually left-handed. I write and I eat with my left, but for some reason I started playing tennis with my right. It just felt better, but the left hand is critical to be able to guide the ball.”
Through his four years with the Quakers, Lin has left nothing on the table, and all is right for him to move on … but not quite yet. He still has a few matches to win.