Ben and Bruno battle for Bulls’ tennis pride

Scot and Brazilian find succes as doubles pair

two tennis players prepare to return a serve
Ben Hudson and Bruno Oliveira demonstrate their exceptional bond on the court with an in-sync return stance. Photo by Sarah Maat 

TAMPA, Fla. — Ben Hudson left his family behind in Scotland when he started playing tennis at the University of South Florida.

Fortunately he’s found a new one.

Brazilian Bruno Oliveira, a senior on the team, asked Hudson to become his doubles partner in a wild-card tournament for professional points at the beginning of the season. Since then, the duo has been inseparable.

“He’s been a real role model for me,” Hudson said Wednesday after their win over Penn State. “Just playing with him and trying to copy the things he does is really benefitting me.”

Growing up in Dundee, Scotland, tennis was a big part of life, so adjusting to playing in Florida without his family around has been difficult.

“It was a bit weird at first because originally I travelled everywhere with my dad,” Hudson said.  “I call them a lot.”

His dad and younger sister, Amy, actively play the sport and, growing up, Ben spent a lot of time with them on the court.

“She’s probably looked up to me in a way,” he said of his sister. “It’s always a bit competitive when we go on court together. My dad used to play squash, so racquet sports run in the family.”

Hudson’s support system looks a little different now that his family isn’t around.

At school he has found comfort in his friendship with Oliveira—and he’s learned a lot for the senior.

Ben Hudson holds a tennis racquet to his face
Ben Hudson is prepared to bring intensity during the rest of the season to help improve the team’s record. Photo by Sarah Maat

“He’s a very positive person on court. I can get a bit quieter at times and he helps me to stay energized,” Hudson said. “It’s good to play with him because he keeps me going if I ever go through a rough patch.”

Hudson recognizes they still have to make major improvements to their 6-11 record if they hope to reach conference finals this year, but these changes start with building a strong dynamic on the court.

As he learns from Oliveira, Hudson is developing attitude and mindset techniques that he can turn around and use to help motivate them both during tough games.

“There’s been times in the past where he’s been going through a very rough patch on the court and, because I’ve learned from him, doing what he does, I’ve been able to … get him going again,” Hudson said.

When Hudson reflects on his connection with his partner he is reminded of home, and more specifically, the support he received from his dad during his early days of tennis.

Hudson says he “wouldn’t admit that to (Oliveira),” but he has taken on a bit of the same supportive mentor role he left behind in Scotland.

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Posted: Mar 7 2024 6:54 pm
Filed under: Sports Tennis