Belgian tennis player defies odds in pursuit of pro career

Transfer student Tom Pisane won’t give up on his dream

Tennis player during singles match
Tom Pisane hammers home a strong backhand for the point v. Jack Martuccio of Penn State University. (Photo: Jackson Kerbl) 

TAMPA, Fla. – Tom Pisane has battled just about every obstacle a college athlete can experience and is starting to see the light on the other side.

The University of South Florida (USF) men’s tennis senior has had a long road to get to where he is today, and the results he always had hoped for are finally falling in his favour.

Pisane attended a prestigious boarding school at age 13 for athletes in Belgium where all his tournaments and coaching were sponsored. After three years he decided to test his luck on his own and left the school to play professional tennis.

He played in his first Futures tournament one year later without any coaching or training support and earned his first ATP (The Association of Tennis Professionals) ranking – by making the quarterfinals on his 18th birthday, walking away with his first ever tournament prize earnings.

Pisane showing emotion after a hard fought point

The unfortunate part is that Pisane could never pocket his winnings.

“If you don’t win the tournament or don’t make finals you will lose money if you are traveling,” Pisane said after his 7-5, 5-7, (10-7) victory over Jack Martuccio, of Penn State University.

Pisane had his highest ATP ranking of 1,031 in 2019, at the age of 19. Then the pressure of playing professionally on his own started to get to him.

“I kind of hit a rock and I wasn’t really staying sane” he said.

“Then COVID happened, and I really had to think if I wanted to keep playing, if I can’t travel with a coach.”

If it weren’t for a global pandemic Pisane might have never fully recognized the change he needed to keep playing tennis.

“That’s when I determined I probably wasn’t mature enough yet to be a pro on my own, said Pisane. So that’s when I decided to come to college and get into college tennis”.

He attended Louisiana State University in the fall of 2020 and found early success winning a first-ever collegiate singles match.

The Belgian had a great group of teammates surrounding him at LSU but Pisane believed he wasn’t meshing with the coaches, and left.

Growing acclimated to his new school and coach Ashley Fisher, a new challenge appeared – a serious leg injury, forcing him out of the sophomore season and part of the next, Now in his senior year with USF. he and has won six of his last seven, not allowing obstacles to define him.

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Posted: Mar 7 2024 9:28 pm
Filed under: Sports Tennis