For the all-time leader in career wins, singles and doubles for the UW-Superior men’s tennis team the path wasn’t always set to become a Yellowjacket.
This season the men’s team has racked up the wins, going undefeated in their first ten matches. Part of that is because of the leadership of senior captain Andre Luiz de Melo Guedes who set the career wins record this season.
Growing up in Brazil Luiz originally loved swimming and it was his main focus until his mom got tennis involved at age 11 by signing him up for lessons at 9 a.m.
His reaction was not what you may expect from the now great tennis player, “I was like, are you serious on a Saturday, I don’t want to wake up and play tennis… I didn’t want to go but I did enjoy it and now I’m here,” said Luiz.
After Luiz played tennis in Brazil, traveling a lot with the team in Brazil and internationally the move was to a junior college, Jacksonville College in Texas. After earning his associate degree, he was ready for a four-year institution.
Originally it wasn’t UWS, he was offered a scholarship to play in Miami, Fla. However, the coach that recruited him left the team and part of Luiz’s scholarship was withdrawn.
At the time CeeJay Schaffner was recently hired as the head coach of the tennis teams and was beginning his first recruiting class.
“We kind of knew we needed to jumpstart the program, so we were looking at a lot of transfer juniors at that point and we found Andre and Gergo (Potz Nagy) getting their associates and wanting to transfer to a four-year,” Schaffner said.
According to Schaffner the two helped bring the program to where it is today, and it began with them playing doubles together.
Where they went on to have a 15-5 record together last season before Gergo graduated.
For Luiz it was tough to leave Brazil and his family but luckily, he had newfound friends in his tennis teammates.
“I was not very excited and then the cold started and I had no one besides my friends,” Luiz said and as his relationships grew with them, he compared it to a family.
On the court he is a phenomenal player, but Schaffner praises his off the court leadership as an important part of his role on the tennis team.
“Without him, I lose touch a bit, he’s got a pulse on everything. He helps me understand where the guys are at and still brings it on the court every day,” Schaffner said.
Luiz came here in 2021 with no expectations to put his name in the UWS history books but now that he has, he still can’t believe it.
“It all feels very good, it’s motivation every day and I don’t know, like I’m still speechless but I’m enjoying it a lot,” Luiz said. “I just want thank everyone, my coaches, family back home an everyone around me, they always helped me a lot, so without them I wouldn’t be able to do it.”
The men’s team has begun the season at 10-0 as they will be defending the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference Championship, they won last season.
For Luiz, he is 5-3 in singles and 11-1 in doubles this season according to Yellowjacket Athletics.