Junior Jordi Vives made waves when it was announced that he would transfer from the University of Southern California immediately after he helped win the 2012 NCAA Men’s Tennis Championship. “Coach (C.J.) Webber was the main reason I’m here,” Vives said. “When I was at USC I was talking to a lot of schools, some even top-10, but he was the only coach that didn’t have a team there that flew to the championship to talk to me. He told me really good things about this school and Florida and we really just connected. Another helpful thing was that it was in Florida. I hate the cold.”
After receiving a unanimous selection to the Atlantic Sun All-Conference Team last year, Vives continued his success this year. He is currently 20-3 in singles matches. The Intercollegiate Tennis Association ranks him 93rd and at one point this year he had the longest winning streak in the country at 14 matches.
“I definitely think I’m a better player this year compared to last year,” Vives said. “Last semester I started playing some really good tennis and I got confident with my shot. This year we’ve played against some great competition and I’m really hitting my shot.” Not only is Vives successful in the singles matches, he is also 11-5 in doubles. Most recently, he’s been successful with senior Dean Tsamas as they are 5-2 together this year.
“I always know what Dean is going to do,” Vives said. “We feed off of each other. He knows what I’m going to do and I know what he’s going to do. We are very comfortable together on the court.“
This year, Vives has won Atlantic Sun Player of the Week twice, but despite the success, Vives feels like he’s not at his best yet.
“Right this current moment, no, I don’t think I am (playing my best),” Vives said. “I could say last semester that I felt that I was playing at my best. Even though I won a lot of matches in a row this year I wasn’t feeling as confident as I was last semester. I think I’m playing really well, though. I’m really focused on helping the team, and mentally, I’m really prepared for matches.” Vives has been playing the top competition from other schools, and so far, he’s been successful.
“I really like playing the top competition,” Vives said. “I like showing different schools across the country that I can compete and beat their top players. I’ve beaten players from FSU, USF, Duke, Virginia and Minnesota. After you beat those kind of schools you get a lot of support. After Dick Vitale congratulated me, I received like 1,000 texts.”
Like every new kid, Vives had to fit in to a new system and new teammates at Florida Gulf Coast University.
“They have been really supportive since I’ve gotten here,” Vives said. “They help me with everything. I try to help them as well. Since I went to USC, I’ve played more international tournaments than they have, and I try to help them if they have any questions about anything tennis related.”